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Pride in Planning
"Sure, there's a thrill in meeting a demand with a product no one else can meet. But I'm not here just to build and sell houses. To be perfectly frank, I'm looking for a little glory, too. I want to build a town to be proud of."
William J. Levitt in the New York Times 1952



 
planning levittown
Levitt did more than assemble cookie-cutter homes, he created communities. He knew that his new subdivision was too big to work as a neighborhood and so he built it as a new form of American community. The nature of Levittown as a community was a major attraction to potential buyers. Toward that goal, Levittown, PA was built as a "self-contained planned community".

 

 The Community “Plan” included schools, places of worship, recreation areas and shopping facilities as well as houses. This comprehensive approach is analogous Levitt's house planning which, for example, included landscaping as well as providing a washer, stove and refrigerator in each house. Levitt’s approach to community planning and design created a full-service community with "built-in" features—just like its houses. For example, elementary schools were centered inside each master block of sections so that, in Levitt's words, "no child will have to walk more than one half mile to school or cross any major road."

The Community Plan and design included:
  41 Sections with 17,311 single family houses
  171 miles of roads
  5 Olympic-sized community swimming pools
  Little League baseball fields
  Lots of green space and neighborhood parks
  Large, multi-purpose Community Hall
  Two large, centralized Shopping Centers
  Sites set aside & donated for churches & schools

Photo - William & Alfred Levitt of Levitt & Sons. William J Levitt was the visionary and salesman and his brother Alfred Levitt was the planner & Architect (Levittown Library). 

Buying Up Bucks County
In early 1951, Levitt & Sons Bought up over 5500 acres (over 22 square miles) of farmland, and woods in Bucks County, PA in the townships of Bristol, Falls, and Middletown and the borough of Tullytown.

The land was purchased from over 170 individual landowners. Levitt used surrogate agents to purchase the parcels. This was to try and keep a lid on his plans for as long as possible to keep land prices from skyrocketing. Also, piecemeal acquisition had hampered his progress and cost him money during the Levittown, NY project.
 


1938 Aerial Photo (Jan Duckett)

Master Block of "Sections"
(Photo - Levittown Library)

The basic planning unit for Levittown was the master block, a roughly mile-square area that encompassed three to five variously sized neighborhoods, also known as "sections." Each section contained on average between 300 and 500 houses.
Landscape Plan
(Photo from Levittowners member)

Levitt & Sons planned everything out, right down to the trees and flowerbeds
.

The "Other" Planned Community

(Photo - Jan Duckett)
Fairless Hills was built prior to Levittown as housing for the newly opened US Steel Fairless Works. When completed, Levittown wrapped around Fairless Hills.


 

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