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Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Project




Housing-Massachusetts-Leverett, Suburbs-Massachusetts-Leverett, Home ownership-Economic aspects-Massachusetts-Leverett, Exurban, Affordability, Massachusetts, Low-income housing-Government policy-Massachusetts-Leverett


This paper explores the interaction between macroeconomic housing market forces and an array of affordable housing policy initiatives within the context of a particular community-Leverett, Massachusetts-that has transitioned from rural to exurban status. Market mechanisms, for providing affordable housing rely on the steady suppply of old, high density, convertible housing. Such a supply tends to be most prevalent in metropolitan and urban areas and this is where market based affordable housing strategies function best. However, as this particular stock of housing is by and large non-existent in exurban areas, submarket allocation becomes less pertinent as a source of affordable housing. At the same time, the enactment of affordable housing policies, at local, state, and federal levels of government, have also largely failed to achieve the goals of supplying housing that is affordable for a diverse range of incomes in the transformed exurban housing markets. In setting policy, affordable housing policymakers rely on a definition of area median income that is quite broad, resulting in goals and outcomes that are misplaced for exurbia. As a result, measures of affordability in comparatively wealthy exurban communities, such as Leverett, are masked by their incorporation into broader geographic areas with lower incomes. I will analyze these aspects of housing affordability in seven principle sections.




[47] p. Honors project-Smith College, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 46-[47]