Every so often, I read something describing defenders of sprawl as "contrarians", implying that they are underdogs fighting against the elitist, anti-sprawl Establishment. For example, when I did a google.com search for sites including Robert Bruegmann (author of one of the better defenses of the status quo) and the word "contrarian" I found over 1400 "hits." Similarly, a search for websites using the terms "smart growth" and "elitist" yielded over 6000 hits.
But realistically, most of the U.S. built environment is sprawl by any concievable definition. So how can it be "contrarian" to defend the status quo?