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A Primer on Lakewood, the "Archetype of the American Suburb"

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It's hard to imagine, but there was once a time when houses were built to be affordable. The post-WWII planned community of Lakewood had 17,500 single-family houses all mass-produced assembly-line-style, completed in under three years, and sold for what was even then a radically reasonable price —around $7,500. Unsurprisingly, they sold rapidly, many to first-time homebuyers. This short film from the National Building Museum about the creation and early days of the city just northeast of Long Beach plays as part newsreel, part tourism board ad, extolling the virtues of the meticulously laid-out streets, the houses, and the "super-modern shopping centers" with seemingly endless free parking. Even though New York's Levittown was completed first, for many, Lakewood became the model suburb.

· Lakewood: "The Future City as New as Tomorrow" [NBM]