Levittown was the first mass produced suburb that applied the industrial assembly line model to housing construction.

Levittown made ‘the American dream’ of owning a home possible by keeping all houses identical, save for small cosmetic variations. Developer, William Levitt, was even quoted as saying: “We’re not builders, we’re manufacturers”.

This only worked because this was post-war America – flush with cash and low on resources and choice. In such an environment, everything got consumed.

The environment today is the exact opposite.

Cash is tight, we already have everything we need and plenty of choice for things we don’t.

Not only that, but we are now globally connected, so we can unfortunately even compare what we are consuming with the best from all over the world.

As a result, if William Levitt were an entrepreneur today, his business may instead look something more like the housing version of Local Motors.

Local Motors makes the dream of owning your own customised, tailored, uniquely personal vehicle possible by rallying fans of cars and 3D printing into community.

Opposite to the 50s, Local Motors has caught a wave that is still only just in its infancy – we don’t want to live as carbon copies of others.

Industrial scale unites people on low cost but promotes sameness and uniformity.

Connection scale unites people on passion but promotes uniqueness and individuality.

Postscript: HT to Esther Sugihto of Melbourne Architours for kindly pointed out that a housing version of Local Motors does exist: WikiHouse.

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