The Curious Case of New Jersey
"Consider New Jersey," goes the entreaty by Eric Bender, as explained in a post for MIT's Industrial Liaison Program (ILP).
"Its population density is easily the highest in the United States — in fact, it’s high enough for the whole state to qualify as an urban area — but it lacks any big cities. What New Jersey offers instead is a form of dispersed urban sprawl, says Rafi Segal, associate professor of architecture and urbanism. And that leads to a life style missing crucial benefits of community and public space that cities provide."
Bender's post delves into the studies of Prof. Segal about the "peripheries of cities in dispersed urban environments like New Jersey," which aim "to help mold living environments that are more self-sufficient, less wasteful, more productive and (most importantly) more likely to create active communities."
One critical idea that drives Prof. Segal's work: New Jersey—the entire state—as a "single urban entity." The article goes into a lot more detail about where New Jersey's model provides guidance in creating similarly unified and holistic environments—from a kibbutz to a former office building in Manhattan to, perhaps most importantly, the suburbs.