The American dream has long been anchored in homeownership, with a large single-family home standing as the ideal. As a result, in towns across America, this narrow perfect standard has led to an increasingly flat housing landscape.

Fueled by the housing boom that encouraged larger homes, and NIMBY (an acronym for "not in my backyard") ordinances that prohibit smaller or multifamily homes, many areas have seen their stock of rental and affordable homes decline. And where homes in an area cater to only one kind of resident, the lack of housing diversity has led to a lack of resident diversity.

Salisbury, Conn., a small town boasting lakes, hills and a two-hour drive to Manhattan, has become a popular location for retirees and vacation homes. That popularity fueled a 104 percent increase in the median price of a home in Salisbury between 1994 and 2009, to $397,500.

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