The new urbanists have been organized for 22 years, and in some respects they have achieved remarkable success. Their intellectual contributions and their practical ideas related to human-scale placemaking have been widely accepted by planners and developers.
And yet employing this toolkit remains nonstandard practice in the vast majority of land in our metropolitan regions. Conventional suburban development and automobile-oriented roads are still the default way of building in most cases. Reforming entrenched land-use laws and systems feels like a Sisyphean task — rolling boulders uphill time after time.
Diverging from standard practice implies a lot of risk for planners and builders who don't want to get squashed — even in a metaphorical sense. How do we roll the rocks downhill instead and let gravity do the work? The market is ready for a torrent of activity — the pent-up demand for urban places is tremendous.