A positive by-product of the recession could be the curtailment of sprawl. We must make sure to reinforce this trend by focusing on our downtowns. We should commit capital to mass transit between our city centers rather than to highways that encourage sprawl. We should incentivize “energy-saving rehabilitations” of our older inner-city houses rather than making it cheaper to build housing on the outskirts. And we should once again focus, as we did with the San Antonio River Walk in the thirties, on downtown infrastructure projects, such as the creation of “linear parks” along our rivers, bayous, and bays.

Flato is one of the founding partners of Lake/Flato, an architecture firm in San Antonio.

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