Back in the 1990s, new urbanism and smart-growth movements began advocating for alternatives to urban sprawl, promoting a cross-hatch of ideas from the simple — redeveloping along mass transit stops — to the more ephemeral — strengthening downtowns to make them more attractive to young, knowledge-based workers.

Indeed, new urbanism advocates seemed to be ahead of the curve as Generation X entered the workplace and began taking up residences closer to the downtown core. Then came the great real estate bubble, and the trend line ground to a halt like a tram approaching a congested intersection.

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