chapter  15
9 Pages

Ruth Frankenberg, 'Growing up White: Feminism, Racism and the Social Geography of Childhood' (1993)

Most American housing is based on Levitt's model of the home as a haven for the male worker's family. Americans chose the Levittown model for housing in the late 1940s; Americans have mass-produced the home as haven and transformed their cities to fit this model and its particular social, economic, and environmental shortcomings. The Cape Cod houses recalled traditional American colonial housing. They emphasized privacy. Large-scale plans for public space and social services were sacrificed to private acreage. Each new Cape Cod house is designed to be a self-contained world, with white picket fence, green lawn, living room with television set built into the wall, kitchen with Bendix washing machine built into the laundry alcove. Americans cannot solve their current housing problems without re-examining the ideal of the single-family house that is, re-examining its history, and the ideals of family, gender, and society it embodies, as well as its design and financing.