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Open House — Levittown, NY

by Anne Miltenburg

True to their original purpose as sleeper-towns, many US suburbs have become economic deserts, and most of their inhabitants commute to work in nearby cities. The economic crisis has struck these middle-class neighbourhoods hard, and people are struggling to supplement their income. ‘Open House’, a concept by design studios DroogDesign and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is an experiment in small-scale economic activity. A dozen homeowners in Levittown were paired with designers to discover services that they could provide in their own homes. The results varied from serious scenarios such as a home-made dinner takeaway and an after-hours school for adults, to tongue-in-cheek initiatives such as an attention clinic where you can find the listening ears of an elderly couple, or a vacation try-out store where you can practice your upcoming holiday. During a one-day Open House, homeowners raised a total of US$2,500.

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