Housing and Economic Development: The Evolution of An Idea Since 1945
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The construction and use of decent housing affects economic development through its impact on employment, savings, investment, and labour productivity. These facts have only recently come to be widely acknowledged. Since 1945, housing experts have articulated three views about the role of housing for economic development. In the early post-war decades most writers viewed housing as a social expenditure and a drag on growth. A minority argued that housing could be an important adjunct to specific development projects, usually in isolated locations. Since the 1970s, housing has increasingly come to be seen as a contributor to growth, not only because house building is a major employer with large multiplier effects but also because housing is seen to have social consequences with diverse economic effects. This historical narrative as to how opinion has changed raises questions as to why it has changed.