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Suburbia: Yesterday and today

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Goodwill Industries of Northern New England

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  1. Introduction
  2. The need for affordable and adequate housing
  3. The famous town of Levittown
    1. The Levittown communities
  4. The reality: Past and present
  5. The suburbs: Cultural deserts
  6. The advent of the automobiles
  7. Conclusion
  8. Bibliography

As defined in Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, a suburb is ?1 a: an outlying part of a city or town, b: a smaller community adjacent to or within commuting distance of a city, c pl: the residential area on the outskirts of a city or large town, 2 pl: the near vicinity: environs.?(Webster's, Copyright 1990) This idea of suburb, or suburban, dates back to the Greek city-state in the 6th century where the interdependence between the city and the surrounding agricultural communities is identified (, 3 December 2007). The modern sense of the term in American history came about in post World War II era in the 1940's and 50's during the economic boom and the return of GI's in large numbers looking to settle down and begin family life.

[...] Folk musician Pete Seeger sang about the houses all looking the same, and other critics including residents of nearby towns, feared the low cost homes would turn into slums. A dark secret that Levittown harbored was it's ?whites only? policy which Levitt himself argued that the racial prejudice was in his customers who would not purchase a home if he changed the policy (Blackwell, Jon, December 2007). This policy eventually gave way to political pressure and lawsuits. But, today suburbs remain racially and economically segregated with efforts at integration resulting in segregated neighborhoods within the larger suburban limits. [...]

[...] Geographically the changes occurred because the commodity, land, was available, it was cheap, and it made sense to consumers. As we look back on this time of expansion, we are in a position where re-evaluation of our development patterns is necessary. We need to stop the runaway train that is called sprawl and reintegrate reason and rationale into our construction plans in order to one day hand over a country and cities that are livable, to the next generations. Bibliography 1. [...]

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