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Around 1900, progressive dreamers wrote a series of Utopian novels, sharing their vision of a perfect Socialist future. One thing that they all had in common is communal living. In the perfect future, they assumed, people would live together in large apartment complexes. Communal living is just rudimentary common sense. It saves lumber, brick, and steel. It saves electricity. It saves fuel because people are close to town and closer to work. It saves heating oil. Somewhere in the 20th Century, this efficient communal ideal was tossed in the garbage and was replaced by the ideal that a respectable American has to live in a house. Nothing, it seems, can shake the ideal of the single-family home. It has been proven that home ownership primarily benefits...

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