The vast majority of Americans — almost 80 percent — are totally on board with living somewhere that's close to jobs and schools, where the environment is clean and you don't have to spend much money on gas. They just don't want to live in places that are "sustainable" or involve "smart growth," because that shit is for hippies.

Messaging is crucial when it comes to community planning, according to a panel at the SXSW Eco conference. Suburban and rural dwellers don't care about things like climate change, transportation, and land use, but those factors have serious impact on their quality of life. So the trick is to make it clear to people why smart growth is smart –emphasizing the economic advantage of saving on gas, for instance, or the health effects of air quality.