When Americans Bought the Illusion of ‘Indoor-Outdoor Living’

Postwar Suburban Homes With Big Windows and Patios Sold the Idea of Leisure—and Air Conditioning

Think of postwar America, and what often comes to mind is a white, heterosexual family, pictured in a domestic suburban environment. You can tell this family lives in the suburbs because there is a lawn in the background, a tree framed in a picture window, a swimming pool glimmering behind a glass wall.

This almost-mythical family you are visualizing is drawn directly from a generation of magazine ads, commonplace during the mid-20th century, that portrayed so-called “indoor-outdoor living,” where the refinements of domesticity were combined with the restorative powers of …

How Traffic Circles Became Ground Zero for the French Middle Class

Garrisoned in Roundabouts, ‘Yellow Vest’ Protesters Want Urban Elites to Respect Their Suburban Dream

Just over 50 years ago, Jacques Tati’s Playtime opened in French movie theaters. In the comedy, Tati once again features his iconic character, Monsieur Hulot, the confused but courtly Parisian …

The Surprisingly Modest Start to McMansion Sprawl

Builders Like the Campanelli Brothers Helped Fuel Midcentury Suburban Desire, from Massachusetts to Moscow

After V-J Day—August 14, 1945—millions of World War II veterans came home and began to look for a place to live. New highways, cars, and government-sponsored mortgages encouraged them to …

How California Got Broken to Pieces

The State’s Problem Is Not Big Government, but Too Many Small and Stupid Governments

Wherever you live in California, your county probably doesn’t fit you.

In mountainous and rural areas, your county may be too small to do the big things you need; 24 of …

You Can Thank the Suburbs for the Trendy Ramen Burritos Downtown

Growing Up on the Outskirts of L.A. and Marrying a Guy From the Outskirts of São Paulo Taught Me How the Urban Fringes Can Spice Up a City's Core

After I married a Brazilian, I learned the Brazilian concept of vira-lata: flipping over the can. Vira-lata (trash-can tipper) is the name for mixed-breed dogs without owners who knock over …