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Old 08-05-2014, 01:32 PM
 
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As far as I know my history, land used to be developed individually, and homes were built by the owner. Nowadays, land is commonly bought by a developer, constructed on as a larger unit, and then subdivided and sold among new owners. The latter method, called "tract housing," was not the primary method of home construction in the US until recently when the concept of the suburban subdivision appeared. So my question is-what is it that led to the birth of tract housing? Why is tract housing and subdivided development the primary method of growth in today's methods of urban planning, rather than the sale of individual plots? I don't understand what caused the change and why homebuilding is the way it is today, could someone please fill me in?
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Old 08-05-2014, 01:39 PM
 
Location: NC
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I'm not an expert but my general knowledge tells me that after WWll there was a need for lots of housing due to the armed forces returning plus it being the end rationing which made home building possible. New technologies and new materials were generated during wartime making homes more affordable. Someone came up with the idea of semi-mass production, and that was easiest done on one plot of land subdivided into homesites. Read about Levittown in NY and in PA. Some of the new materials were the drywall and some types of insulation, I think. Previously builders had to use lath and plaster or wood paneling for interior walls. Standard size windows was a big help too.
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Old 08-05-2014, 02:52 PM
 
Location: North by Northwest
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There was plenty of cookie-cutter housing before the war. Look no further than NYC Brownstones. The Post-WWII area simply resulted in (a) a general spike in homebuilding, and (b) that production skewed much more toward the detached, single-family variety than before.
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Old 08-05-2014, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
As far as I know my history, land used to be developed individually, and homes were built by the owner. Nowadays, land is commonly bought by a developer, constructed on as a larger unit, and then subdivided and sold among new owners. The latter method, called "tract housing," was not the primary method of home construction in the US until recently when the concept of the suburban subdivision appeared. So my question is-what is it that led to the birth of tract housing? Why is tract housing and subdivided development the primary method of growth in today's methods of urban planning, rather than the sale of individual plots? I don't understand what caused the change and why homebuilding is the way it is today, could someone please fill me in?
Suburban neighborhoods predate tract housing.

Take a neighborhood I mentioned not long ago, Park Slope. Bought by a guy who then turned it into a subdivision and sold the individual lots off to people. Yup. Park Slope is a subdivision. Of course, back then they generally sold as lots without a house on them. Nowadays they just skip that step. Home buyers aren't as sophisticated as they were then nor as wealthy, so they don't always have the wherewithal or financial means of overseeing or employing an agent to oversee the construction. Of course, you still do so custom homes today.

If you'd ever seen the process that custom homes go through, you'd understand. It's a lot of headache. Delays, setbacks, endless amounts of choices. No doubt some people find it worth it, but it's a lot of hassle and expense.
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Old 08-05-2014, 03:07 PM
 
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The invention of the Model T. Like fast food, everything has since become mass-produced with the factory assembly line method. Including housing.
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Old 08-05-2014, 04:02 PM
 
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Even in neighborhoods built before WWII you can find houses that are identical or share an lot of elements in the same neighborhood built at the same time.
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Old 08-05-2014, 04:26 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Take a neighborhood I mentioned not long ago, Park Slope. Bought by a guy who then turned it into a subdivision and sold the individual lots off to people
Or another NYC neighborhood: Ridgewood Queens:

RIDGEWOOD, Queens | | Forgotten New YorkForgotten New York

Many mass produced homes. Scroll down to "housing boom"

As mentioned previously, the subway extension into Ridgewood was primarily responsible for bringing new people to the neighborhood. Someone needed to give them a place to live. Four major builders were responsible for providing living space for the new residents, many of whom were German immigrants.
In this section, we will briefly describe who each man was and their contribution to the pre-WWI housing boom in Ridgewood. The four were: Paul Stier, Walter Ring, Gustave Matthews and Henry Meyer, Jr.


and under Matthews Flats:

Gustave Matthews mass-produced these multi-unit houses for about $8,000 and sold them for $11,000. They did not have central heating or hot water systems. The only heat came from coal in the stove and a kerosene heater in the living room. Despite this, the U.S. Government gave special recognition to Matthews’ concept in 1915 when an exhibit was opened at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. It showed the world how efficiently these type of apartments met housing needs for a surging population.

Obviously, all these homes today have central heating and hot water.
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Old 08-05-2014, 07:20 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,995 posts, read 102,568,112 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
As far as I know my history, land used to be developed individually, and homes were built by the owner. Nowadays, land is commonly bought by a developer, constructed on as a larger unit, and then subdivided and sold among new owners. The latter method, called "tract housing," was not the primary method of home construction in the US until recently when the concept of the suburban subdivision appeared. So my question is-what is it that led to the birth of tract housing? Why is tract housing and subdivided development the primary method of growth in today's methods of urban planning, rather than the sale of individual plots? I don't understand what caused the change and why homebuilding is the way it is today, could someone please fill me in?
Way back, fewer people owned homes. Tract housing allowed the common guy and gal to buy houses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeavenWood View Post
There was plenty of cookie-cutter housing before the war. Look no further than NYC Brownstones. The Post-WWII area simply resulted in (a) a general spike in homebuilding, and (b) that production skewed much more toward the detached, single-family variety than before.
Yes, Denver is full of 1920s bungalows, block after block. When I was a visiting nurse, I never had to ask where the bathroom was.
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Old 08-05-2014, 07:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Way back, fewer people owned homes. Tract housing allowed the common guy and gal to buy houses.
Ok, that makes sense. Good summary. So why did mass-developed land/tract housing not appear until WWII? Why not around, say, the 1920s? Or even the 1890s?
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Old 08-05-2014, 08:09 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
Ok, that makes sense. Good summary. So why did mass-developed land/tract housing not appear until WWII? Why not around, say, the 1920s? Or even the 1890s?
We have given you some examples of several cities that have tract housing from the 1920s or earlier. Look at all the row houses in any older city.
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