Thursday, October 17, 2019

Bill Levitt Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1000 words

Bill Levitt - Essay Example Unquestionably, Bill Levitt, whose family had been in the custom home building business, envisioned how this atmosphere of new found prosperity and the lack of adequate housing in the overcrowded cities of the East could pave the way for mass production home construction that would forever change the landscape of America - Suburbia was born. Prior to the post-World War II era home ownership in urban America was primarily reserved for the affluent. Custom home building was the norm and the cost was prohibitive to many people. The vast majority of the urban population lived in cramped apartments and row houses and, for the majority, home ownership was only a dream. Levitt, however, seizing on his experience and knowledge of home building understood that through streamlining the building process and standardizing the home designs, he could mass produce homes affordable to the average family. Levitt, though, went a step further by creating massive housing developments on the outskirts of urban industrial cities which offered the prospect of middle class comforts at a price almost any young family could afford (Hales 1). Levitt did not stop with merely building affordable homes; He astutely created communities within these huge developments that offered the convenience of shopping, recreation, church and schools all designed and created within the developments. Levitt sold more than homes; he sold a new way of life complete with a sense of upward mobility and community to the burgeoning young families of the early 1950's. In order to mass produce affordable homes, Levitt drew on several different sources: the efficiency of assembly line production with interchangeable parts coupled with simplistic architectural designs the emphasized open floor plans and modern conveniences. "Levitt sacrificed individuality and custom design for low-cost efficiency" ('Building' 3). To accomplish this Levitt offered only a few models of home choices in each of his developments. Additionally to save on the cost of construction these single family homes were constructed on slab foundations instead of the traditional basement. He did not skimp on quality, however. All the homes constructed used quality products in the building process and the homes offered modern conveniences that appealed to his target audience of young families looking to own their own home on the outskirts of the urban hubs. A testament to Levitt and Sons Builders was the fact that "between 1950 and 1960, 20 million people were drawn to mass housing d evelopments on the outskirts of America's cities" ('Building' 1). To facilitate the low production costs of his homes, Levitt streamlined every facet of home construction. He assembled groups of workers that performed the same tasks over and over again moving from home to home within the development. One group would prepare the building site. One group would pour concrete. One group would rough frame. One group would apply siding. In short, each and every task had specific workers to complete each specific task. This ensured efficiency, speed, unsurpassed productivity and cost containment previously unheard of in the home building industry. Additionally, as there were limited home models constructed his company saved on material cost by purchasing in bulk. His building plans were so well designed

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