In the 1940s and 1950s, the architects Bjarne Tøien and Sverre Pedersen drew up plans for, respectively, Lillestrøm and Strømmen, two urban developments on the outskirts of Oslo. Their plans have several similarities. One is a clear demarcation between residential, industrial and town center areas. The home was to be separated from industry and commerce, the family and recreation sheltered from business life. Small houses surrounded by gardens of equal size, green spaces and play areas symmetrically arranged with wide, straight streets and vistas, the low rise development was designed to give residents air, light and space while detailed regulation of colour and form was to make urban developments into beautiful and good local communities; the 20th century ideal of order, peace and harmony. These were the principles of urban planning in post war social-democratic Norway. It is argued in this article that the plans reflect a concept of «the good life» and the good community, particularly as regards family form, social equality and a gendered division of labour. The resulting urban developments concretised these values in a material world that could be mentally and physically formative for the community and the people who lived there. Thus, urban development had a potential to influence people’s social practice, materiality had a potential influence on people and their actions. It was not Bjarne Tøien and Sverre Pedersen who were the actors, but rather the houses, buildings, streets, railway stations and corner shops that operated in interaction with people around them.