Urban sprawl is not mindless at all. There is nothing inevitable about its development. Sprawl is the result of zoning laws designed by legislators, low-density buildings designed by developers, marketing strategies designed by ad agencies, tax breaks designed by economists, credit lines designed by banks, geomatics designed by retailers, data-mining software designed by hamburger chains, and automobiles designed by car designers. The interactions between all these systems and human behavior are complicated and hard to understand– but the policies themselves are not the result of chance. “Out of control” is an ideology, not a fact.
John Thackara, from In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World