Published in DASH #08 - Building Together
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Pleasantville, New YorkFrank Lloyd Wright

In the 1940s, David and Priscilla Henken, two young professionals who lived and worked in Manhattan, took the initiative to found a cooperative community in the countryside together with like-minded people, away from busy and densely populated New York City. Their inspiration stemmed from the ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, the author of Walden, Or Life in the Woods, about the power of the individual and the simple life outdoors. A retrospective of the work of Frank Lloyd Wright in the MOMA brought them into contact with his vision and designs for an ideal development model for suburban America – Broadacre City – and his designs for affordable housing: the Usonian Home. In 1944 they formed a cooperative under the name of ‘Usonia’, and the members saved money on a monthly basis to build their own homes outside the city. In 1947 the cooperative acquired a wooded tract of land in Pleasantville in Westchester Country, about 50 km north of New York…