Debates over land use regulation, sustainable development, sprawl, community design, and the municipal finance implications of these occupy virtually every local government in this nation and abroad. The revival of many American downtowns and the urbanization of selective suburban places are a testament to profound changes in real estate development after decades of building only drivable suburban development. However, just as the United States is adjusting to changing market demands, much of the developing world is emulating the drivable suburban American model of the twentieth century.
Few planners, lawyers, business leaders, and designers who influence metropolitan development understand the complexity of real estate development. They are not as effective as they could be in improving the way development occurs. Many of those trained in a single field, such as business, law, or urban planning, could be more effective in creating places that contribute to a positive quality of life for people of all incomes and preserve the natural environment if they had an education that spanned several professional fields.