The first comprehensive architectural and cultural history of condominium and cooperative housing in twentieth-century America.
Today, one in five homeowners in American cities and suburbs lives in a multifamily home rather than a single-family house. As the American dream evolves, precipitated by rising real estate prices and a renewed interest in urban living, many predict that condos will become the predominant form of housing in the twenty-first century. In this unprecedented study, Matthew Gordon Lasner explores the history of co-owned multifamily housing in the United States, from New York City's first co-op, in 1881, to contemporary condominium and townhouse complexes coast to coast. Lasner explains the complicated social, economic, and political factors that have increased demand for this way of living, situating the trend within the larger housing market and broad shifts in residential architecture and family life. He contrasts the prevalence and popularity of condos, townhouses, and other privately governed communities with their ambiguous economic, legal, and social standing, as well as their striking absence from urban and architectural history.