please examine and answer the following questions.Levittown, The story of William Levitt and the creation of the modern suburb that we know today is told in the 1950 Time magazine article “Up from the Potato Fields” as found below. If you can possibly pr

please examine and answer the following questions.

The story of William Levitt and the creation of the modern suburb that we know today is told in the 1950 Time magazine article “Up from the Potato Fields” as found below.  If you can possibly prevent yourself from vomiting as you think about the dreadful and wretched suburban blandness that Levitt brought to our green and pleasant fields, please try to answer the following questions, only after the Pepto Bismol* has settled you down a little.  Bleech. 

1.    What did Levitt do that had not been done before?  Why was his model of a home and a community appealing to the many young families that quickly snapped up these tiny houses?

2.    Why did this happen when it did?  Basically, why didn’t someone come up with this idea in 1920 or later in 1970 or never at all?  What was it about the postwar period that made Levitt a millionaire and average middle-class white Americans home owners?

3.    The community was described by the author of the article as “antiseptic.”  What did he mean by that and do you think the residents wanted it that way?  Would you want to live in such a place??? Really, is there anything about this sort of community that you might find appealing?? (Maybe you live in such a place and are mad at that smug Horner for even asking???)

*http://www.pepto-bismol.com/

 

“Up From the Potato Fields”

Time (3 July 1950)

 

        On 1,200 flat acres of potato farmland near Hicksville, Long Island, an army of trucks sped over new-laid roads.  Every 100 feet, the trucks stopped and dumped identical bundles of 

lumber, pipes, bricks, shingles and copper tubing – all as neatly packaged as loaves from a bakery.  Near the bundles, giant machines with an endless chain of buckets ate into the earth, taking just 13 minutes to dig a narrow, four-foot trench around a 25-by-32 ft. rectangle.  Then came more trucks, loaded with cement, and laid a four-inch foundation for a house in the rectangle.

        After the machines came the men.  On nearby slabs already dry, they worked in crews of two and three, laying bricks, raising studs, nailing lath, painting, sheathing, shingling.  Each crew did its special job, then hurried on to the next site.  Under the skilled combination of men and machines, new houses rose faster than Jack ever built them; a new one was finished every 15 minutes…..

        Levittown is known largely for one reason:  it epitomizes the revolution which has brought mass production to the housing industry.  Its creator, Long Island’s Levitt & Sons, Inc., has become the biggest builder of houses in the U.S.

        The houses in Levittown, which sell for a uniform price of $7,900, cannot be mistaken for castles.  Each has a sharp-angled roof and a picture window, radiant heating in the floor, 12-by-16 ft. living room, bath, kitchen, two bedrooms on the first floor, and an “expansion attic” which can be converted into two more bedrooms and bath.  The kitchen has a refrigerator, stove and Bendix washer; the living room a fireplace and a built-in Admiral television set….

        The influence of Levitt & Sons on housing goes much further than the thresholds of its own houses.  Its methods of mass production are being copied by many of the merchant builders in the U.S., who are putting up four of every five houses built today.  It is such mass production on one huge site which is enabling  U.S. builders to meet the post-war demand and to create the biggest housing boom in U.S. history….

        At war’s end, when the U.S. desperately needed 5,000,000 houses, the nation had two choices:  the Federal Government could try to build the houses itself, or it could pave the way for private industry to the job, by making available billions in credit.  The U.S. wisely handed the job to private industry, got 4,000,000 new units built since the war, probably faster and cheaper than could have been done any other way.

        The Government has actually spent little cash itself.  By insuring loans up to 95% of the value of a house, the Federal Housing Administration made it easy for a builder to borrow the money with which to build low-cost houses.  The Government made it just as easy for the buyer by liberally insuring his mortgage.  Under a new housing act signed three months ago, the purchase terms on low-cost houses with Government-guaranteed mortgages were so liberalized that in many cases buying a house is now as easy as renting it.  The new terms:  5% down (nothing down for veterans) and 30 years to pay.  Thus an ex-G.I. could buy a Levitt house with no down payment and installments of only $56 a month.

        The countless new housing projects made possible by this financial easy street are changing the way of life of millions of U.S. citizens, who are realizing for the first time the great American dream of owning their own home.  NO longer must young married couples plan to start living in an apartment, saving for the distant day when they can buy a house.  Now they can do it more easily than they can buy a $2,000 car on the installment plan.

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