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Winner of the National Endowment for the Arts Award for Excellence in Design Research, the Paul Davidoff Award for an Outstanding Book in Urban Planning, the Vesta Award for Feminist Scholarship in the Arts, and an ALA Notable Book Award: a provocative critique of how American housing patterns impact private and public life. Americans still build millions of dream houses in Winner of the National Endowment for the Arts Award for Excellence in Design Research, the Paul Davidoff Award for an Outstanding Book in Urban Planning, the Vesta Award for Feminist Scholarship in the Arts, and an ALA Notable Book Award: a provocative critique of how American housing patterns impact private and public life. Americans still build millions of dream houses in neighborhoods that sustain Victorian stereotypes of the home as "woman's place" and the city as "man's world." Urban historian and architect Dolores Hayden tallies the personal and social costs of an American "architecture of gender" for the two-earner family, the single-parent family, and single people. Many societies have struggled with the architectural and urban consequences of women's paid employment: Hayden traces three models of home in historical perspective—the haven strategy in the United States, the industrial strategy in the former USSR, and the neighborhood strategy in European social democracies—to document alternative ways to reconstruct neighborhoods. Updated and still utterly relevant today as the New Urbanist architects have taken up Hayden's critique of suburban space, this award-winning book is essential reading for architects, planners, public officials, and activists interested in women's social and economic equality.


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Winner of the National Endowment for the Arts Award for Excellence in Design Research, the Paul Davidoff Award for an Outstanding Book in Urban Planning, the Vesta Award for Feminist Scholarship in the Arts, and an ALA Notable Book Award: a provocative critique of how American housing patterns impact private and public life. Americans still build millions of dream houses in Winner of the National Endowment for the Arts Award for Excellence in Design Research, the Paul Davidoff Award for an Outstanding Book in Urban Planning, the Vesta Award for Feminist Scholarship in the Arts, and an ALA Notable Book Award: a provocative critique of how American housing patterns impact private and public life. Americans still build millions of dream houses in neighborhoods that sustain Victorian stereotypes of the home as "woman's place" and the city as "man's world." Urban historian and architect Dolores Hayden tallies the personal and social costs of an American "architecture of gender" for the two-earner family, the single-parent family, and single people. Many societies have struggled with the architectural and urban consequences of women's paid employment: Hayden traces three models of home in historical perspective—the haven strategy in the United States, the industrial strategy in the former USSR, and the neighborhood strategy in European social democracies—to document alternative ways to reconstruct neighborhoods. Updated and still utterly relevant today as the New Urbanist architects have taken up Hayden's critique of suburban space, this award-winning book is essential reading for architects, planners, public officials, and activists interested in women's social and economic equality.

30 review for Redesigning the American Dream: The Future of Housing, Work and Family Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carlos

    This book was nothing short of amazing. As only a great author can, Hayden makes the reader look at a mundane aspect of life, i.e., houses, in a completely new and radical way. By taking the reader through an overview of the shifting housing trends across the history of this country Hayden manages to highlight how artificial is the current obsession with single-family detached houses. Similarly, by giving a voice to those who were not in the minds of those who planned suburbia she also manages t This book was nothing short of amazing. As only a great author can, Hayden makes the reader look at a mundane aspect of life, i.e., houses, in a completely new and radical way. By taking the reader through an overview of the shifting housing trends across the history of this country Hayden manages to highlight how artificial is the current obsession with single-family detached houses. Similarly, by giving a voice to those who were not in the minds of those who planned suburbia she also manages to highlight how the current housing policies continue to disregard the need of the majority of its citizens. Lastly, though the book does not claim to give an answer to the housing problems that face the US, it does manage to expose the reader to new ideas of what housing can be and the ways to demand change.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Aryn

    Here is my lit review from class: In the introduction of Redesigning the American Dream: The Future of Housing, Work, and Family Life Hayden describes divergent approaches to town planning that have stemmed out of various historical processes and moments. Hayden begins with a comparison of Vanport City, a World War Two era town built for women who had entered the workforce, and Levittown, the postwar paradigmatic American suburb. The first example withered away after the war, but Levittown, and Here is my lit review from class: In the introduction of Redesigning the American Dream: The Future of Housing, Work, and Family Life Hayden describes divergent approaches to town planning that have stemmed out of various historical processes and moments. Hayden begins with a comparison of Vanport City, a World War Two era town built for women who had entered the workforce, and Levittown, the postwar paradigmatic American suburb. The first example withered away after the war, but Levittown, and the thousands of towns built on similar suburban models, has flourished. Through this a suburban sensibility was created and reshaped over the past sixty years. This suburban ideology has both codified women's second-class status and contributed to a housing crisis in America today. One of the things that Vanport City included was a practical understanding of the connections between work and social services. This allowed more freedom and flexibility for women, for fluidity in the conception of family, and communal, public space. Levittown, by contrast, was planned so that each white, hetero-normative, nuclear family had a "self contained world" (6) centered on masculine authority, privacy, home ownership and social homogeneity. Levittown and those like it were instrumental in establishing an "architecture or gender" in which destructive gender norms were created and reinforced through city and home planning (17). Levittown's romanticized single family home is not representative of the majority of Americans today—single parent households, single person households as well as households with two wage earners are most injured by the "American dream home" and the roles it prescribes. Hayden, in order to explore the roots of the current crisis writes a succinct history of American utopian thinking, the impact of industrialization and reform on urban planning and the postwar creation of the ghetto through discriminatory housing policies, redlining and white flight. She briefly explores the interconnectedness of our unsustainable housing patterns, illustrating that car-reliant suburban planning has led to a reliance on foreign oil, which in turn has lead to negative foreign policy and relations (47). There have been many attempts at addressing sustainability as well as urban and suburban issues. Famous reformers such as Addams and landscape architect Olmstead created new visions of space in response to the ills of industrialized America. The 1920s brought an era of mass production and consumption as well as the idea that "good homes make contented workers" and class strife can be mediated by giving "angry propertyless people" access to better housing to fill with consumer goods (32). Gradually, instead of utopian thinking about cities, Americans began to center their utopian thinking on the "American dream house." This house has become an unsustainable structure in which elaborate roofs denote the owner's social status. It is clear through Hayden's history that our cities and suburbs can be read as historical texts: the racial, socio-economic and gendered spaces all tell stories of the myriad processes through which they were created. Additionally, Hayden argues that our "housing strategy based on suburban dream houses underscore the conflicts of class, gender, and race that characterize our society" (40). These conflicts and the familial, social, economic, political and ecological consequences of suburbaization are clearer than their remedies. Hayden, however, calls for a nonsexist approach to housing and planning, one that integrates a feminist critique and negotiates gender relations based on a new vision, one that embraces an American dream more complex and dynamic than that of the dream embraced in Levittown.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Malcolm

    This could be read as a companion volume to The Grand Domestic Revolution where Hayden sets out to explore the changing relationship between spaces of everyday life - houses, nieghbourhoods and the like - on the way those lives are lived. This kind of spatially informed history is rare, specifically feminist inflected spatially informed history almost non-existent. Hayden's work is a major contribution to social, economic, and cultural histories and needs to be more widely used. Unlike the earli This could be read as a companion volume to The Grand Domestic Revolution where Hayden sets out to explore the changing relationship between spaces of everyday life - houses, nieghbourhoods and the like - on the way those lives are lived. This kind of spatially informed history is rare, specifically feminist inflected spatially informed history almost non-existent. Hayden's work is a major contribution to social, economic, and cultural histories and needs to be more widely used. Unlike the earlier book, however, she has narrowed her focus to the USA, and in doing so has set a significant challenge to the rest of us to explore the applicability of her findings in other contexts. There is a strong tendency in urban history to consider Old and New World cities as likely to demonstrate notable difference: in these cases, we need to test that assumption, and Hayden provides a sound framework from which to begin. This is a major contribution to aocial history.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Hayden's book covers a wide range of issues revolving around the residential settlement patterns in the US. Well written, though I had some concerns with less than subtle social verbiage about the wife tethered to the isolated suburban colonial - cleaning and doing laundry and other chores that the husband wont ever touch, but I've subsequently determined that the author didn't intend for this reading. So good book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    Excellent. I wanted to read this before getting to her later book Building Suburbia, and regret I had this unread on my shelf so long.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I'm having my students read parts of this in my class. I hope they read it. I think it's pretty interesting.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Schein

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mary

  10. 4 out of 5

    Betty

  11. 4 out of 5

    Adam Ploetz

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah-Marie

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brian Jennett

  14. 5 out of 5

    Claire

  15. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Geddis

  16. 5 out of 5

    studioloraine

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sue

  18. 5 out of 5

    Madalene

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rhi Myfanwy

  20. 5 out of 5

    jacob

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jenean Gilmer

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

  24. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Schubert

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Russ

  26. 4 out of 5

    Richard Sclove

  27. 4 out of 5

    Molly

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gabriella Johnson

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  30. 4 out of 5

    grace

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