Columnist Yonah Freemark looks at planning efforts in a number of U.S. cities and shows how competing interests have delayed or even halted progress:
"In the United States that planning authority-which ultimately results in decision-making-is completely decentralized. This means that not only do the states and the federal government plan, but so do municipalities, regional groups, even sometimes neighborhood associations. In some ways, this is a positive reflection of the degree to which Americans cherish their democracy. On the other hand, it diminishes the ability of governments to make coherent and long-lasting decisions about how to invest."