They’re actually giving tours now of the old post-WWII homes built for and purchased by returning GIs in the late ’40s and 1950s. And why not? They were simple, practical and, despite the stereotype, usually quite solid. A sampling from a great essay:

The current millennial generation seeks a practical domestic situation, much like returning GIs. Most would prefer to reduce car-trips, but are realistic about this goal, given the range of their travel. Most in this generation see right through car-free living claims; more than one of my students, when discussing walkability, stated that “I’m not gonna lug my groceries even a block in this heat.” The battle with the car is chiefly about making the car more efficient, and less ubiquitous through the use of telecommuting and on-line shopping. It is not about removing it from the scene entirely.

So as McMansions have swollen to represent a kind of architectural obesity, they have made many midcentury neighborhoods unfashionable, for typically these older homes have one parking space, often in a carport, not a true garage. They also are front-loaded, a much more efficient planning concept than alleys, but then the car becomes part of the front façade. Millennials have a hard time understanding what’s wrong with that. Again, as one 28-year-old student put it to me, “It’s just a house, after all…what’s the big deal?”

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Updated March 2018

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