Witold Rybczynski asks (rhetorically):
But isn't good urban design about originality, innovation, and personal invention?
The answer, of course, is "no."
There is nothing wrong with the qualities of "originality, innovation, and personal invention" -- they are essential in many realms of human endeavor -- but they are largely irrelevant to creating a comfortable city. As Bob Dylan put it, "To live outside the law you must be honest." (I use "honesty" here in the sense that one must be able to look at one's own acts in the light of the larger social goals within which one operates and judge one's actions without blinkers.)