Suburban, suburbanization, suburban development, Nassau county, William E. Nelson, Norman R. Williams


This article addresses the social history of suburbanization in America in the twentieth century by analyzing the relationship between government policy and suburbanization through a study of Nassau County, New York. In Part I, the authors compare examinations of the suburban housing market between 1920 and 1940 and post-World War II. Whereas the former was characterized by high mortgage foreclosure rates preventing land owners and builders from selling their property, the low mortgage foreclosure rates post-World War III advanced suburbanization. In Part II, the authors turn their focus to Nassau County’s transportation infrastructure and the insignificant impact it had on suburban development. In Parts III and IV, the authors discuss market failures in the 1920s and 1930s and then the postwar era, during which the suburban housing market was successfully developed. Finally, in Part V, the authors attempt to turn attention to “the demand side of the market equation” hoping to foster rekindled interest in “government subsidization of consumer demand.”



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