Cultural Aspects of Housing in America

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American society is a complex culture, and there are a variety of ethnicities living there. The identity of a community typically affects its environment, and this, in turn, becomes part of the community. In their housing community, this diversity has been extended. Today, though, tradition is not the only thing that defines how housing is handled in America. Other considerations, such as the supply of land and the population of the city, also play a role. In order to explain how housing is handled in the United States, it is useful to look at a short history of housing. At the end of the 19th century, a typical house in America had about 700 to 1200 square feet of space, and it also had about two or three bedrooms and a single bathroom. In most cases, it was probably a two story plan (Kerch). However, in the turn of 20th century, over 20 percent of the population in the United States were residing in crowded units. These were units where families were sharing one or two rooms. Most of these homes were small rural farm houses and did not have basic amenities such as plumbing and heat.
In the middle of the 20th century, there was no change in a typical new home whose average size was about 1000 square feet (Kerch). It still had two bedrooms and a single bathroom. However, it was now more likely to be a raunchy plan that was one storied. This can best be represented by Levittown houses that were acquired by several soldiers that returned from the Second World War. Even during this time, more than 30 percent of American homes still did not have basic plumbing facilities.
In the other half of the 20th century, Americans were following the American dream. By 2000, a typical American home occupied 2000 square feet or more (Kerch). It has three or more bathrooms and more than two bathrooms. In these homes, garages were added and considered a standard. The garage was then expanded to hold more than two vehicles. Most of these new homes now had fireplaces.
In the past, many Americans resided in rural areas since there we only a few cities that were not big like they are today. However, after the Second World War, many Americans shifted and began settling in suburbs that were near cities whose population were higher than those in rural areas but slightly lower than those in urban areas (Kerch). There are several factors that contributed to this shift, and it includes the increase in popularity of vehicles, presence of huge tracts of land, increased insecurity as well as violence in urban areas and reduced housing expense (Rapoport). The result of this was the introduction of single family houses which were mostly a single or two stories tall. In most cases, these houses were built under contract by one developer who did not give a variety of housing, so most of them looked similar. There was separation these houses.
Today, this is changing fast; the detached single family home is the most popular housing style in the United States (Kerch). However, it is not popular in every part of the United States. For example, in Washington DC only one in ten houses has been designed this way. This could be attributed to the fact that there is a growing urban population and decreasing land space.
In order to fully understand the housing culture in the United States, Badger and Ingraham tracked and charted styles of home in 40 major cities across the nation. They established that 15 of the 40 cities that were chosen, single-family homes were the minority housing. However, in populated cities such as New York, large apartments takes up to 60 percent of housing. In places, such a Baltimore and Philadelphia, a single unit attached buildings makes for more than 50 percent of housing.
In this study by Badger and Ingraham, there were a few surprises in the Los Angeles which is traditionally thought to be the city that represents housing sprawl. The city was found to be one of the denser city in the US, and the number of apartments is on the rise. The trend that is seen here does not only tell us about the physical characteristics of every city; they also predict the potential for housing since there are several places such as Detroit that are looking for space that they could fit their increasing population.
A tract of land that could have traditionally been intended for a single family home can now be used to fit several row houses. A parcel of land that can fit several single unit housing can now be used to fit mint houses and can also hold apartment buildings that can fit the family about three times (Ruiz). Badger and Ingraham show that there are several options that people could be used for traditional single-family homes as well as the tower. There are some cities in the United States that do not have land to mix these types of houses.
A city such as Seattle has reassessed the land that it has protected for single family homes. This has been done in their attempt to create housing that is more affordable (Badger and Ingraham). The share of that housing in Seattle is greater than that of Los Angeles (Jabareen). The houses that were being built in California in the mid-century told more about optimism, prosperity and the past indifference that came out as naïve that characterized a wonderful era. There are remain of little cabins in places such as Valley Forge that depicts a different kind of story. In every generation, the square footage of average American housing increases. However, the size of family that resides in them decreases.
In conclusion, as much as homes feel different today compared to how they were a century ago, the change in housing culture in the United States has been evolutionary. This will continue in future. The homes that will be built in decades to come will pretty much look like homes that are being built today. However, its size could slightly increase to cover around 2200 square feet with a parking lot that is half that size. The inside, if these houses will have, designs that are universal, that will enable buyers to age in place. The systems in these houses such as heating and cooling will also become more energy efficient. The spaces on the interior will also increase and be flexible enough to allow room for changing its uses. However, in other areas, the design of housing will be determined by space available as well as the population residing in that place as it has been seen. What this means is that the housing culture in America is not uniform everywhere since it is affected by the population or culture residing in a given area.

Works Cited

Badger, Emily, and Ingraham, Christopher. The most popular type of home in every major American city, charted. Washington post. September 21, 2015. Web. July 4, 2017. <>
Jabareen, Yosef. “Culture and housing preferences in a developing city.” Environment and Behavior 37.1 (2005): 134-146.
Kerch, Steve. 1900 To 2010: Evolution Of The American Home Today: Fun Housing Facts. Chicago Tribune. June 18, 2000. Web. July 4, 2017. < >
Rapoport, Amos. “Using “Culture” in housing design.” Housing and Society 25.1-2 (1998): 1-20.
Ruiz, Fernando Pagés. American Housing: Building with Culture in Mind. UTNE. Spring 2016. Web. July 4, 2017.

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