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By Thomas J. Vicino (auth.)

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Additional info for Transforming Race and Class in Suburbia: Decline in Metropolitan Baltimore

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To economize the time to build a house, all lumber was precut and shipped directly to the construction site. In addition, roofs and support walls were also prebuilt and delivered to Levittown. Houses did not have basements, and the company only offered a few standard versions of the house: a ranch-style or a Cape Cod–style. This uniformity of construction allowed Levitt employees to labor in an assembly line fashion, with each worker responsible for a particular aspect of the house construction.

Tools such as zoning and housing codes ensured that neighborhoods and communities would remain white, and therefore ushered a modern era of de facto segregation. In essence, Brown was an impetus for white flight, and it had the unintended consequence of spurring even greater numbers of white, urban residents to flee the city for the suburbs. The last major push-pull factor relates to the contrast in the characteristics of the built environment. Urban renewal efforts in the 1950s and 1960s attempted to give central cities a makeover—a renaissance—with the hope of abetting the exodus of the white, middle-class population.

Such practices were successful in Baltimore, among other cities. After white residents sold, real estate agents would increase the price of the house with the direct intent of selling to black city residents in search of the suburban dream. Between 1955 and 1965, nearly every white resident—some 20,000—fled Edmonson Village, and an exclusively black residential population replaced them in just a decade (Orser 1994). Both the real estate industry and the FHA failed to confront this systematic discrimination until the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which is part of Title VIII of the Civil Right Act of 1968.

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