Tract housing


Tract housing
Aerial view of housing developments near Markham, Ontario.

Tract housing is a style of housing development in which multiple similar homes are built on a tract of land which is subdivided into individual small lots. Tract housing developments are typically found in North American suburbs that were modeled on the "Levittown" concept and sometimes encompass large areas of dozens of square miles.

Tract housing development makes use of few architectural designs, and labor costs are reduced because workers need to learn the skills and movements of constructing only those designs. In addition, as all homes in the development will be built at the same time, the cost of purchasing and transporting building supplies may be reduced due to economies of scale. Components such as roof trusses, plumbing trees, and stair systems are often prefabricated in factories and installed on-site. This allows builders to offer lower prices, which in turn can make homes affordable to a larger percentage of the population.

1920s tract housing in a Pittsburgh suburb

Early tract homes were often identical, but many tracts since the late 20th century have several designs and other variations in footprint, roof form, and materials, along with options such as garage bays, for a diverse appearance.

The creation of a "utility side" of the house, with common drop locations from the street utilities, reduces both cost and visual clutter, with the opposite side more pleasing in appearance. As with other construction, such reversal may or may not take advantage of beneficial orientation relative to sun, wind, and shade.

The concept of tract housing is occasionally mocked in American popular culture as the basis of suburbia. Nonetheless, the use of tract housing in new American suburban residential development continues to remain popular.

Coal miner colony in Königsborn near Unna, Germany. Original brick facades have been plastered over

Housing colonies

In Europe, the majority of subdivided landstrips are built in the style of row housing development areas. The model of tract housing had been used widely in the history of land reclamation in the 17th to 19th century, especially in the Netherlands and inner-European (former) bogs. Modern tract housing had been used for company towns in the 19th to 20th century, especially in the areas of coal mining which attracted a large number of workers. A tract housing area of this type is colloquially known in German as a "(zechen)kolonie"(G), and in Flemish Dutch and French as a "cité"(D)/(F) or "coron"(F).

See also


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tract Housing — Vorstädtische Kolonie Colorado Springs, Colorado. Luftbild der Reihenbebaugung nahe M …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • tract housing — noun housing consisting of similar houses constructed together on a tract of land • Hypernyms: ↑housing, ↑lodging, ↑living accommodations • Part Meronyms: ↑tract house …   Useful english dictionary

  • tract house — noun one of many houses of similar design constructed together on a tract of land • Hypernyms: ↑house • Part Holonyms: ↑tract housing * * * noun : one of many similarly designed houses built on a tract of land * * * a house forming part of a real …   Useful english dictionary

  • tract — tract1 [trakt] n. [L tractus, a drawing out, extent < pp. of trahere, to DRAW] 1. Archaic a) duration or lapse of time b) a period of time 2. a continuous expanse of land or of water, mineral deposit, etc.; stretch; extent; area ☆ 3 …   English World dictionary

  • tract house — n. a residential house built to a common or frequently repeated design as part of a housing development …   English World dictionary

  • housing — Synonyms and related words: accommodation, accommodations, architectonic, architectural, assembly line housing, berth, billeting, blanket, box, building, cabinet, caparison, case, casing, chassis, cloak, coat, console, constructional, container,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • tract — Synonyms and related words: acreage, amplitude, area, article, assembly line housing, belt, billeting, block, booklet, breadth, brochure, causerie, chapbook, circular, clearing, clos, close, comic book, continuum, corn field, critique, croft,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • tract house — (also tract home) noun N. Amer. a house forming part of a housing estate …   English new terms dictionary

  • housing development — a group of houses or apartments, usually of the same size and design, often erected on a tract of land by one builder and controlled by one management. [1950 55] * * * …   Universalium

  • Noddy housing — (sometimes called Noddy Box Housing [1] or Shoddy Noddy Boxes [2]) is a pejorative British term used to describe commercially built housing of low build quality or design merit.[3][4] Noddy houses are typically small homes on narrow plots of land …   Wikipedia


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