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Steve Jobs and Beautiful Affordable Mainstream Homes

One of HHI's Advisory Board Members, Dr. Mariel Wolfson, wrote in her doctoral dissertation about the growth of the healthy home movement, noting that Apple's Steve Jobs admired Joseph Eichler, developer of Eichler "designer" tract homes in the SF Bay Area (quoting biographer Walter Issacson):  “Jobs said that his appreciation for Eichler homes instilled in him a passion for making nicely designed products for the mass market. ‘I love it when you can bring really great design and simple capability to something that doesn’t cost much,’ he said as he pointed out the clean elegance of the houses. ‘It was the original vision for Apple. That’s what we tried to do with the first Mac. That’s what we did with the iPod. Jobs liked the notion of simple and clean modernism produced for the masses.” Ref: Walter Issacson, Steve Jobs (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011), 7, 125.


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...One architectural historian has written that the Eichler homes have left us “with a tantalising image of Modern Architecture’s potential to improve the quality of everyday life.”


...The Farallones Institute...[stated] appropriate technologies satisfy five criteria:

  1. Cheap enough to be accessible to nearly everyone
  2. Simple enough to be easily maintained and repaired
  3. Suitable for small-scale application
  4. Compatible with [human] needs for creativity and,
  5. Self-educative in environmental awareness.




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Steve Jobs and Beautiful Affordable Mainstream Homes:  Created on September 11th, 2014.  Last Modified on March 10th, 2015


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About Dr. Mariel Wolfson

Dr. Mariel Wolfson recently completed her PhD in the History of Science at Harvard, where she wrote her dissertation about the history of green and healthy housing in the United States (“The Ecology of a Healthy Home: Energy, Health, and Housing in America, 1960-1985"). While writing her dissertation, Dr. Wolfson was the Meyer Fellow at Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS), and is currently collaborating with the JCHS on a project exploring healthy-home concerns and behaviors among American homeowners, renters, and contractors. She presented the homeowner portion of this project at the 2014 National Healthy Homes Conference in Nashville, TN.  She has also served as a Teaching Fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment. Mariel has long-standing interests in the environment, housing, and health, and is an alumna of the Student Conservation Association, the National Outdoor Leadership School, and the Mountain School in Vershire, Vermont.



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