High Life
  • Oct 16, 2012
    336 p., 7 x 10
    125 b/w illus.
    ISBN: 9780300164084
  • Cloth: $50.00 sc
  • Add to Cart

Art and Architecture
Social Science

High Life

Condo Living in the Suburban Century

  • Matthew Gordon Lasner


“More than merely a history, this is a serious rethinking of the ‘suburban century’. . . . Rich in detail [and] . . . a good read.”—Planning Magazine

“An excellent history of an influential form of residential tenure in the United States, in which many households share ownership of the collective property in which they live. This is a neglected but important subject in the fields of urban studies, architectural and planning history, and American cultural history.”--Alexander von Hoffman, Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University, author of House by House, Block by Block: The Rebirth of America’s Urban Neighborhoods 

“Could this book be about the rare, defiantly urban souls opting for the sleek new high-rise as the rest of the old neighborhood packs up for the suburbs? Indeed, for a time that was true, but the real story is nowhere near as simple, and a good deal more interesting.”—Metropolis 

“This superb study of co-owned housing in America—from the first cooperative buildings in 19th century New York City to condominiums around the country today-is not only an architectural history but also a social, political, urban, economic, and political one…this is an indispensable book for anyone involved with housing or simply interested in social trends.”—Jayne Merkel, Architectural Record

“Lasner deftly establishes co-ownership and the condo as a topic worthy of ongoing historical research.”—Southern California Quarterly

“Erudite, deeply researched, and highly original. . . . Lasner writes with grace and ease, integrating finely-grained details about specific developments, people, and locales with grand themes of social history.”—Carla Yanni, Rutgers University

High Life, clearly written and abundantly illustrated, focuses on the innovative designers and developers who found ways to create enduring forms of condominium and cooperative ownership through trial, error, and imitation.”—The American Historical Review

“A fascinating study of collective housing in the United States. . . Lasner’s history is an intriguing and timely book, rich in insights and observations about collective housing ownership patterns and practices within the suburban century.”—The Journal of Popular Culture

“For a better understanding of the history and significance of co-ownership in the USA, Lasner’s High Life is, and should remain, an essential and entertaining source.”—Planning Perspectives

“In High Life: Condo Living in the Suburban Century, Matthew Gordon Lasner traces the history of collective homeownership in the United States. This groundbreaking account ranges from the 1830s to the recent past and covers a wide range of metropolitan locations and building types . . . Lasner’s work challenges those who study cities to think more creatively about them and to move their analysis more fluidly between city centers and suburban enclaves.”—Buildings & Landscapes: Journal of the Vernacular Architecture Forum

“[a] detailed, eye-opening volume . . . High Life is more than the sum of its parts. Architecture, planning, real estate development, financing, cultural outlooks, social conventions, as well as visionary thinking and pragmatic tendencies, innovation and conservatism, artistic prowess, and workmanlike practicality—all figure in Lasner’s analysis. But, as valuable as his treatment of the understudied realm of co-owned housing is, the ultimate value of this book transcends that subject. High Life plants itself firmly among a small number of texts that are essential to understanding how Americans regard housing as a manifestation of the freedoms bestowed on them and as a means of providing their cherished concept of home. It is no less consequential in its contribution to our understanding of the multifaceted complexion of the twentieth-century metropolis.”—Richard Longstreth, The AAG Review of Books