"Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes all the same."
--Little Boxes, lyrics by Malvina Reynolds, 1962.
Levittown is a term associated with an urban planning initiative in the United States after the Second World War. While the name was first associated with the original Levittown, located in New York, it was later used on seven subsequent tract housing projects that followed the same urban planning scheme. More than 17,000 detached, single family homes were built in suburban Levittowns in the United States.
The original Levittown was an idea conceived in the late 1940s by William J Levitt and his firm, Levitt & Sons.
Before the Second World War, William Levitt's real estate development company had established a reputation for building moderately expensive homes for upper middle class clients, but as the father of a returning United States Navy veteran, Levitt recognised how difficult it would be for his son to buy his first home. Consequently, he came up with the idea of providing affordable housing for returning veterans and their families.
Seven Levittown communities were built:
- New York (1947–1951)
- Pennsylvania (1952–1958)
- Willingboro Township, New Jersey (1958)
- Puerto Rico (1963)
- Bowie, Maryland (1964)
- Largo, Maryland (1963)
- Crofton, Maryland (1970)
Levitt took assembly line production for automobiles and applied the approach to constructing mass produced military housing. Materials were standardised, so the supply chain came directly from the manufacturer.
The homes were extremely popular when the scheme began. With an affordable price, all the modern conveniences (including built-in televisions and stereo systems) and even a white picket fence in front of the green lawn, they were ideal for young families eager to purchase their first home.
For many buyers, Levittown homes represented the American dream. However, aside from their inherent sense of uniformity (each house was originally built in the same basic style, with offerings for different colours or other minor cosmetic features), there was also another hidden factor. In addition to strict rules and regulations about the physical characteristics of the properties, there was a condition stating that only white, Christian homebuyers would be eligible to purchase the properties. Levitt's rationale was that buyers would feel more comfortable joining communities where everyone shared the same beliefs and backgrounds.
Government sanctioned segregation was not considered unethical or unsuitable when Levittown communities were initially built. This institutionalised racial bias was included in a clause (or "restrictive covenant") in the official paperwork associated with each sale. While this clause was officially removed in 1948, most Levittowns were still somewhat segregated even as recently as the 1990 U.S. census.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
On 26 March the IHBC, led by Prof. John Edwards, hosted a free one-hour CPD webinar ‘Introduction to Building Survey for Retrofit’ for sector professionals.
Greg Clark, writing an opinion piece for RICS, explores how good governance in cities pays dividends.
The Architectural Heritage Fund has issued a report on the first year of its ‘Transforming Places Through Heritage’ grants programme, funded by DCMS.
Europe’s star cities are scattered all over Europe but their perfect geometrical beauty can only be fully admired when seen from above.
The freely available Insight 1 series targets a wide range of cohorts who wish to gain an appreciation of practical heritage conservation.
The restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster is of ‘paramount importance’ according to the recent strategic review.
The IHBC's monthly CPD Circular showcases upcoming Events, Awards, Placements, Bursaries & Scholarships, Calls for Papers and more from across the UK and beyond.
The move of a 139 year old Victorian House through the streets of San Francisco drew an excited crowd of onlookers who came out to watch a truck slowly and carefully pull the historic house through the streets.
Historic England has published a new edition of its advice note on how local heritage listing and local heritage lists can be formally identified as part of the wider range of designation so that they can be taken into account in planning applications.
The stunt aimed at highlighting ongoing delays to its repair, as the 133-year-old west London bridge has been closed to traffic since April 2019 when cracks appeared in its pedestals.
Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have been used to undertake a survey of the Lloyd’s building’s external façade in the heart of the City of London.