Sprawl was written into the DNA of its own creation, feeding and perpetuating itself. If you don't go in and perform surgery to all of the urban genotypic details from zoning, to lending, to transportation policies, etc. All of which were once in support of public opinion perhaps (although I would argue that we had no idea the monster it would create). Even if it were, it is no longer the dominant public opinion, as Ray LaHood refers to in his blog posting, "It's not my agenda, it is America's."
An obscure detail, often communicated by Andres Duany, a founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism, is that low interest mortgages designed to avert a depression at the end of World War II, did not include renovations of existing house stock. A viral response to that federal mortgage incentive program became all new residential subdivisions and in-town neighborhoods, which has experienced two decades of deferred maintenance, were left behind.
Public infrastructure, public policies, banking and mortgage incentives, public zoning and building codes public agency regulations and standards, and recently, Wall Street securitization standards, triggered viral market responses and conspired to create false demand for a product that is rarely the actual market preference.
Of course, this once again implies that since Kotkin's logic is so full of dung, that he is little more than the beetle feeding upon it.