Expanding a random thought in previous.
Through most of history, families lived together. In many parts of the world families still live together. American houses built before 1946 made provisions for internal subgroups with occupied basements, occupied attics, and occupied porches.
The ‘nuclear family’ crammed into a tight one-story house was part of Deepstate’s 1946 master plan for universal atomistic division at all levels by all possible classifications. Literal application of the Manhattan Project. Isolate the fissionable isotope, compress, heat, wait for explosion.
Was this change officially enforced? Partly. FHA offered guidelines and encouraged builders to follow the guidelines if they wanted FHA loans.
The elements of the nuclear house:
1. Cement slab instead of basement. Eliminates separable space for family or utilities or storage.
2. Low ceiling, harder to cool in summer and feels more cramped.
3. Flatter roof, harder to keep clear in winter and also eliminates livable space.
4. Picture windows for better surveillance and more sense of vulnerability. Always make the peasants feel insecure.
5. Open floor plan, maximizing the sense of crowding.
6. No screened porches or sittable porches.
These elements came in from different sources. Slabs were already standard in garages and industrial bldgs, not in houses. Low ceilings were common in tenant cottages but not in ‘real’ houses. Flatter roof was part of the California bungalow, but not the Midwestern bungalow. Display windows were part of stores, not houses. Open floor plan was evolving in bungalows, both Calif and Midwest. Bungalows basically merged living and dining into one area, and minimized halls and vestibules. Deleting the porch was new.
The full force of all 6 was devastating. From 1940:
Families had to split out as fast as possible, and had to give up separable work and storage space. A family residence/shop combination was no longer practical. Self-sufficiency (canning, storing, repairing) was much harder. Zoning further enforced the shift away from usefulness.
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Later: Wolf Richter writes about the parallel move toward ‘open plan’ in offices, which had exactly the same purpose and effect. Purify the isotope, eliminate productive work and creativity, compress for explosion.