clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Five Homes in America's Would-Be Utopian Communities

New, 4 comments

Many, from religious factions of the 1800s to international fun conglomerate Disney, have tried to use urban planning as a societal cure-all. Attempting to eliminate social ills doesn't always work and many master-planned communities fail, but some continue to achieve success, at least judging by market value. One such success is the planned commmunity of Seaside, Fla. Developed beginning in the early 1980s under the principals of New Urbanism, the town famously served as the backdrop for The Truman Show and features buildings by some architecture heavyweights, including Steven Holl, Deborah Berke, and Robert A.M. Stern. The architectural pedigree and quality of construction have driven prices sky-high. This four-bedroom beach house, across the street from the dunes, has no starchitect attached to the listing, but is still asking $2.43M, despite measuring just 2,800 square feet.

? Another marked success has been Disney's Celebration, Fla., an idyllic community located directly adjacent to the Walt Disney World theme park. Much of the credit for the home prices in this village goes to that proximity to the theme park, but despite that obvious draw, the prices are still impressive. This seven-bedroom Victorian, built in 2006, is currently asking $2.9M.

? Master-planned communities have been a fixture of the suburban scene since the 60s, when the Rouse Company developed the now-famous Columbia, Md., located halfway between Washington and Baltimore. The architecture hasn't held up very well, and, given that the larger region is one of the most expensive in the United States, home values haven't seen the same premiums as in Florida. This 1968 build is showing its age a little, but still occupies a verdant site on a secluded cul-de-sac. The four-bedroom, three-bath home is currently asking $435K.

? The Chicago neighborhood known as Pullman was established by the industrialist George Pullman, who purchased thousands of acres on the outskirts of town in 1880 to build a factory and planned community for the workers. It turns out Pullman abused his powers, running the town like a dictator and banning businesses and people who conflicted with his plans. By 1894, workers had had enough and organized a massive strike that had to be quelled by the military. Today the town is out of corporate hands, but retains some architecture of the period, like this stone mansion, c. 1882. "In need of major work," the imposing manse, presumably built for one of the town's higher ups, is on the market for just $300K.

? In 1848, John Humphrey Noyes, a leader in a destined-to-fail sect of Christianity he called Perfectionism, established the Oneida Colony in New York. There's no telling if the sect was responsible for the construction of this farmhouse nearby, listed for $249K, but it was constructed in 1850, 19 years before Noyes was forced to flee the country and the sect dissolved.

· 15 Ruskin St W [Zillow]
· 715 Eastlawn Drive [Zillow]
· 10729 Midsummer Ln [Zillow]
· 602 E 112th St [Zillow]
· 336 Genesee St [Zillow]