5. Levittown The most famous mass-produced housing development in the nation, Levittown remains the symbol for tract-home communities. Located some 30 miles east of New York City on Long Island, the 6,000-acre tract of more than 17,000 homes was developed from 1947 to 1951. "It really stands as the icon of postwar suburban lifestyle," says Yeingst. "It brought us the whole concept of the inverted assembly line, where the sites remained fixed but the crews moved from site to site, which kept costs down." At one point, workers produced 35 houses a day. While the concept of carbon-copy homes was not new, Levittown raised knock-off housing to an art form. "Levittown expanded the concept of the American dream for a broader range of Americans," says Yeingst. "Contractors like William Levitt changed the housing business with their organization of labor and production." Modern builders continue to follow the lead set by Levittown with an efficiency that has held off the promise of factory-built housing for decades.
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