For thousands of years, humans built settlements scaled to people who walked. The knowledge for doing this successfully was developed slowly over time. In a generation, Americans transformed an entire continent around a new transportation technology. We often fail to appreciate how we are testing this approach as we go. Quite simply: it's a massive experiment.
America’s cultural belief is that growing cities experience not only opportunity and prosperity today, but the growth allows them to experience success far into the future. There is a built-in assumption that new growth pays for itself today and generates enough wealth to sustain itself generation after generation.
These are flawed assumptions.
We like our places to emerge fully formed and then we expect them to never change, but that's not how life works. Cities are like living things. They need to be able to change and adapt, to start small and mature incrementally over time.
We can't wait around for a big developer or a mega-project to fix our cities. The kind of development we need today happens at the scale of a Strong Citizen, someone who cares about the place they live.