Were not platted for many starter homes

Hello everyone,

From the book Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman.

It wasn’t quite that easy, though, to just move to any suburb. Many of the western suburbs adjacent to Minneapolis were not platted for many starter homes, or had large agricultural tracts or had a legacy of refusing to sell homes to blacks or “Hebrews.” St. Louis Park, though, had been platted for small forty-foot lots since the early part of the twentieth century, explained Jeanne Andersen of the Historical Society. “For some reason, the community’s early developers and factory owners always had a growth mind-set,” she told me. So there was a lot of available housing stock and the real estate developers “were perfectly happy to sell it to Jews,” in contrast to other suburbs at the time, such as Golden Valley or Edina.

I have to admit I fail to understand the use of “plat” here. Does “had been platted for small forty-foot lots” mean that the land/territory there had been divided into small forty-foot lots? And does “were not platted for many starter homes” mean that it was impossible to build there many starter homes becausethere was no space/room to build them?

Thank you.


Yes, you are on the right track. “Platted” here means to divide up land into individual lots. In the U.S. a developer will often buy a large tract of land and divide it up to sell to individual owners or more often, builders. A builder usually will want to build the largest possible house on the lot in order to maximize his profits. So a builder would only build a “starter home” (a smaller home) on a small lot. In addition, there were often restrictions as to who could buy these homes, as the article says, often excluding Jewish people and African Americans.


Thank you, Luschen. And could I ask one more thing: would be correct to say that " were not platted for many starter homes" means basically the same as were not intended for building starter homes?


Exactly - when developers plan a housing development, they generally know the size and expected price of the houses that will be built on each lot.