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Levitt, creator of US suburbia, dies

New York - William Levitt, the Long Island property developer who created the image of modern American suburbia, died on Friday of kidney failure. Levitt, 86, revolutionised the concept of home building, using poured cement slabs for foundations and pre-fabricated walls to create more than 17,000 almost identical 800 sq ft homes that sold for less than dollars 8,000 each in 1947.

The Levittown community, which began as tract homes in the middle of a potato field, is today a mature community where people take great pride in their homes: they now sell for more than dollars 100,000. The Long Island development served as a prototype for similar construction near other cities. During the 1950s and 1960s, scores of such developments sprung up in the United States. They gave tens of thousands of servicemen returning from the Second World War the dream of home ownership.