The chief consequence is that the living arrangements most Americans think of as “normal” is bankrupting us both personally and at every level of government. […]

A further consequence is that two generations have grown up and matured in America without experiencing what it is like to live in a human habitat of quality.  We have lost so much culture in the sense of how to build things well.  Bodies of knowledge and sets of skills that took centuries to develop were tossed into the garbage, and we will not get them back easily. […]

The average citizen – who went to school in a building modeled on a shoe factory, who works in a suburban office park, who lives in a raised ranch house, who vacations in Las Vegas – would not recognize a building of quality if a tornado dropped it in his yard.  But the professional architects, who ought to know better, have lost almost as much ability to discern the good from the bad, the human from the antihuman.  The consequence of losing our planning skills is the monotony and soullessness of single-use zoning, which banished the variety that was the essence of our best communities.  Most important, we have lost our knowledge of how physically to connect to things in our everyday world, except by car and telephone.

The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America’s Man-Made Landscape. p. 245