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We don’t build communities like we used to, which is not a statement about lost kn0w-how or bygone values. Literally, we lay them out differently, along different patterns, engineered for different modes of transportation and different kinds of homes.
Historically, in the cores of older American cities, and in really old cities like, say, Florence, Italy, we designed communities along tight, neat grids, with streets set at right angles to each other — the better for getting around before the car. Then, in the second half of the 20th century, we started devising the more whimsical shapes of suburbia today, built for private cul-de-sacs, broad lawns and winding roads.