If America is to accommodate the strong population and economic growth that lies in our near future, and still remain a highly mobile society, innovative thinking will be necessary. We must get beyond the notion of some mythical golden age. Forcing people to march back to an idealized early twentieth century pattern of dense, transit-dependent urbanity is not the solution.
Ultimately, our goal as a nation should be to create a more mobile society, one that allows ever greater choices for people to live how they wish, whether in a dense city, a decentralized suburb, the countryside, or some hybrid. Today, a false dichotomy is being foisted on the public which suggests their only options are either long highway commutes from anonymous exurbs, or being packed together in dense developments next to mass transit stations. Those are not choices we have to be limited to—if we will show the courage to say no to those who wish to drive us relentlessly back to a vanished past.