SAN FRANCISCO — Peter McMahon, president of Kennecott Land, a company that specializes in master-planned communities, said it is appropriate to look to the past when discussing designs for communities of tomorrow.

Lucca, Italy, for example, a town that was founded by the Romans in 180 B.C., has maintained much of its original community plan. There are rectangular blocks, a system of roads, public and private buildings, a theater and an amphitheater.

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