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Abstract

Artists often chronicle historical developments through their chosen medium. In the case of Billy Joel, some of his lyrics can be traced to the early sustainability movements as he wrote about the migration of people from the cities and the attendant problems with rapid suburbanization. Described by Tony Bennett as “a poet, a performer, a philosopher and today’s American songbook,” his lyrics address, among other topics, land use, community development, and environmental issues. Following World War II, there was a major shift in population settlement patterns in the United States. As war heroes returned home, not only did the country experience a population uptick with what is referred to as the baby boomer generation, but the introduction of the automobile and the investment in road and highway infrastructure created the perfect storm for population movements from the cities to the suburbs.

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