Levittown, a Slice of American Life
When you watch Tim Burton’s film Edward Scissor Hands, one of the visual elements that stands out is the nearly identical-looking homes spread throughout the film’s town. This picturesque version of middle America actually exists in a place called Levittown, which is part of Nassau County.
Levittown isn’t your typical tourist town, but it has some interesting features that remain a staple of American culture.
Levittown was the brainchild of Abraham Levitt and his two sons, who saw the need for affordable housing and met that challenge with a manufactured suburb. Levitt had made his living designing and building custom homes for middle class families, but the World War II put his business in a bit of a damper.
The family came up with an idea for homes based on utilitarian construction, which emphasized speed and efficiency over all else. By July of 1948, the family was producing upwards of 30 homes per day, using pre-cut lumber and nails that they shipped from factories they owned in California. Although they utilized non-union contractors to build the town, a controversial move even back then, they paid their workers well and allowed them incentives to earn extra cash.
The planned community was an almost instant success. It met the needs of affordable housing with modern structures that were easy to rent, but it catered only to “non-whites” in the beginning of its lifespan. That mass-produced feel contributed to a bland feeling, which led to many critiques of the living space. Levittown even became a term, so to speak. One might live in the Levittown of Oregon or Pennsylvania.
About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Samuel Phineas Upham website or Facebook.http://www.honeymoonerchannel.com/levittown-a-slice-of-american-life/http://www.honeymoonerchannel.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/01.jpghttp://www.honeymoonerchannel.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/01-300x300.jpgTravel