This is coolbert: I have perhaps seen some of these Wright designed or at least inspired homes. Along perhaps it is the east side of Main street in Lombard, just south of Roosevelt road, is a group of odd looking homes. Flat roofed, oddly shaped homes from what most people are used to. I bet these were all built originally in the 1950's. Small by today's standards. Those flat roofed homes were a trademark of Wright's. And they have a bad reputation for leaking. Perhaps with modern materials and techniques this problem can be abated?

More sites for Wright tract housing for "everyman":

click here.

click here.

The last site is a blog site about PostUsonian homes!!?? So maybe the trend for such housing is still with us, albeit in an adapted form??

"The Usonian home did not have a basement. Instead, it was built on a concrete slab with subfloor heating to supplement the central fireplace. Dwellers in Usonian homes typically wore sweaters in the winter; in the summer they relied on shade from the long roof overhang to cool the house as there was no air conditioning.

The flat roof, although simple to build, was famous for leaks. There were no gutters or downspouts. All but one Usonian was designed as a single story dwelling."



This is coolbert: Did Frank Lloyd Wright ever design "tract homes"? I believe he did. Here is a web site to go to that shows one of these homes [click here]. What others he may have designed is not clear to me. I ask this question because it seems that while the great man was a prolific designer of homes for the wealthy, he did not seem to do a lot for tract housing. Of course, such a concept did not become a reality until Levittown after WW2, or so it seems to me. I live in a tract housing sub-division that until recently did have some vacant lots. These vacant lots were filled one at a time by a custom builder who erected homes on the lots that were about the same type as the original tract homes put up in the subdivision. All except for one exceptional home I have passed by many times. And always comment to myself as I do so, "this looks like a home that Frank Lloyd Wright would have designed". Except it has aluminum siding and is built with conventional tract housing material. Looks pretty good too. I wonder if anyone has ever decided to build an entire sub-division of such tract housing, based upon the concepts of the great man???



<>The American Planning Association has published an article about the Utica Planning Charette on their Web Site. You may find the link to it at the top of this page: The article is shown below.

Illinois Chapter Leads Tornado Recovery Plan Charrette

By Grace Bazylewski and Craig Harlan Hullinger, AICP

The Village of North Utica, Illinois was hit by a tornado on April 20, 2004, that killed nine people and destroyed the north end of the historic village. The Village Hall, Township Hall, Ambulance Building, and 56 other homes and structures were destroyed.

The village, FEMA, and other governments and citizens produced the Utica United Recovery Plan, a document that called for the expenditure of about $20 million dollars to restore the town and to construct a number of improvements to the community. Some of the major improvements called for were the rerouting of a state highway through the downtown, the removal of the downtown from a floodplain, the enhancement of the historic Illinois and Michigan Canal, improvements to the local economy and tourism, and the reconstruction and beautification of the historic town.

The Pro Bono Committee of the American Planning Association's Illinois Chapter led a planning charrette to assist the citizens in developing the plan. The committee has helped numerous communities over the last eight years on a variety of issues and planning programs. A "charrette" is a design session held over a short time period and designed to produce quick results. Assisted by the Illinois Association of Landscape Architects, the Pro Bono Committee led a five-hour charrette on September 25, 2004.

The charrette was a success.

About 110 people attended the event that began at the fire station directly across from the area destroyed by the tornado. Mayor Fred Esmond introduced the participants, who gave a short introduction to the town, the disaster, and the recovery plan. Smaller groups were created for walking tours of the town, then those groups were broken down into 10-person teams charged with researching and expanding the recovery plan findings and recommendations.

The findings of each group were presented to the larger group at the end of the session. These findings will be incorporated into the downtown improvement plan, tourism plan, and economic development strategy currently under development by the North Central Illinois Council of Governments. Grants have been or will be provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Economic Develoment Administration, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Charette also served as the initial public participation portion of the planning program. Work of the teams included downtown improvement plan physical improvements, facade improvement recommendations, economic development strategy, tourism development marketing work, park improvements, etc. Interesting recommendations included the proposed development of the Illini Native American Village, riverfront parks, a marina, the development of a quarry into a lake, and numerous other positive ideas and proposals for the community.

Long term success and implementation of the projects identified in the charrette depend on the local participants. Local government and individuals must now sort out proposals and decide which ones to implement. Local leaders will have to take ownership of the plan, and develop a consensus to successfully implement it.

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Thursday, November 10, 2004


The Marine Corps celebrates its 229th birthday today, unhampered by progress. On a sad note, three of our Marines from my old Chicago Reserve unit were killed in Iraq this week.


Mayer Trucking gave the Village a check for $31,000 to assist in removing debris and fallen trees, and for the planting of new trees in public spaces. Our thanks to Mayer Trucking and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for this gift.


The Village and Township continue to look for possible sites for the new governmental buildings. So far we have not found a workable, affordable site, but we are continuing to look. The Village Board and the Township Board met on Wednesday November 9, 2004 to continue discussions on a possible joint building effort. The Township is interested in working with the Village, and the two governments will continue to look for a workable site for a possible joint venture.

Bill Garfield has taken over the EDA oversight from Jack Arnold. Our thanks to Jack for his leadership and energy. We look forward to working with Bill.


We have run into a delay with obtaining State CDBG funds for the planning effort. The COG advises us that they must conduct an environmental assessment before we can use these funds, since some construction will be in the flood plain. We are working with the State to try to break the CDBG funding into two parts so that we can proceed quickly.

The Village Board discussed the planning process. They determined that the Planning Commission should supervise the development of the planning process, with work provided by the COG. The Village will also require architectural and landscape architectural assistance from private consultants to ensure that the plan can be put to bid to construct the streetscape as soon as possible.