An undersupply of ‘adequate’ dwellings has existed ever since people began to congregate in towns and cities. It is only since the twentieth century, however, that the urban housing problem has been recognized as truly universal. Analysts and activists came to perceive commonalities across national borders, continents, and world regions. At the same time, they were discerning strong inter-country contrasts related to differences in income and wealth as well as in climate and culture. It is only since the twentieth century, too, that major public policies have been initiated to alleviate housing deficiencies of large groups of families. Until World War II, these efforts were limited to the countries thought to be rich enough to afford costly subsidies. Today, it is difficult to identify any nation, regardless of its development level or type of economic system, that has not adopted some kind of housing policy at some cost to the community at large.
KeywordsHousing Unit Housing Policy Housing Stock World Region Housing Supply
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