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usonia house: movements
Town Planning—Greenbelt Movement

rank Lloyd Wright created the Usonian Houses and designed a model for Broadacre City in 1932 as potential solutions to the crisis in American urban areas. During the 1920s and 1930s, cities were growing at an incredible rate. People feared their growth for many reasons—some thought cities were the centers of monopoly capitalism, others feared the concentration of immigrants in urban areas and others saw them as potential hotbeds for political unrest. The United States Government under President Franklin D. Roosevelt entered the arena of town planning in 1935 when the Resettlement Administration put forward plans to build four new towns comprised of housing for low-income families.

Modeled after English garden cities of the 19th century, the towns were characterized as ‘greenbelt’ towns because of their combination of housing and green spaces. In Greenbelt, Maryland, the town was surrounded by forestland and the neighborhoods were separated by strips of parkland. The housing was built as a series of large blocks with a system of walkways so that residents to move easily through the town without their automobiles.

Town of Greenbelt, Maryland

These communities were advertised as places for young families to be provided with all of the necessities of a comfortable life including good schools, safe streets, parkland, and their own homes. 5,700 applicants applied for 885 original homes, the criteria for selection was based not only on low-income status, but a willingness to participate in community activities. Two other greenbelt towns were built in the United States: Greendale, Wisconsin and Greenhills, Ohio. A fourth town in New Jersey was never built.

Pictured above: Town of Greenbelt, Maryland

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