Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Three Videos About The Rise of the Subdivision

In some ways I think the videos below are better than the readings in giving you a sense of what it is like to build and live in post-war suburbia:

I'm not sure if this is professionally produced but the video below gives you a sense of the relatively quick evolution of the subdivision from Levittown, NY to Levittown, PA.  Most usefully the video lists the six kinds of houses available in PA in contrast with the two available in the first NY project:

The next video is a series of industrial  videos.  I like it because it focuses on construction.  I don't think people think a lot about technological advances in home building but it's important to remember that there was a lot of what you can call R&D that went into both the process of building and the materials used.  Of course, the irony of asbestos shingles as the wave of the future isn't going to escape anyone.  Anyway, if you don't watch the whole thing watch the last minute of the video it is a really fascinating time lapse of the construction of a house in a single day:

Finally, here is a video produced by Redbook magazine in 1957.  It's another industrial video and this one is clearly targeted at advertisers.  This is a really important video to watch for a couple of reasons.  The anthropological tone on the video is fascinating and while it's useful as a historical document about the demographic being described it also gives you a clear picture of how sophisticated advertising had become by this point.  Again, think of this as a kind of "technology" that is developing (and continues to develop) driven by the sciences of psychology, sociology etc.

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