Where American cities are boring and wasteful it's not because of a grid system, it's because they grew in the age of the automobile and - no matter how their streets are laid out - they have the following: -Wide roads with high speed limits -Small sidewalks -Single-use zoning (meaning things are farther away from each other and it requires driving) -Excessive amounts of space used for parking, which makes it too easy to drive everywhere and discourages pedestrian activity (because no one wants to walk past or through a huge parking lot...it's boring and can even be dangerous) I actually think a grid, if the streets themselves are designed properly, is better for walking because its easier for pedestrians to find their way around. Also, grids reduce traffic because if there's traffic on one street, drivers just hop over one block and can get to the same place, whereas in non-grid cities you only have one alternative to get somewhere. Because non-grids can cause bottlenecks, transportation planners have to overcompensate for cars. Look, for instance, at the gigantic circle around the Arc de Triumphe in Paris or the massive Liberty Bridge/Blvd of Allies/I-579 interchange that cuts Mellon Arena and Duquesne University off from Downtown Pittsburgh. Both of those were necessitated by a non-grid street plan and are awful for pedestrians. The one thing a grid does poorly is creat "focal points," which I think is why SimCity players don't like grids much. A place like the Arc de Triumphe, with so many streets leading to it, really creates a gathering place. New York is a grid, but where is the one major gathering place? Times Square, with its odd layout due to Broadway. I think all in all, the best way to build a city is a grid system with a few diagonals overlaid on it so that people can take shortcuts and also to create focal points and gathering places where the diagonals intersect with major grid roads or create small triangles that can be used as pocket parks. Ironically, this is the road system that Detroit has, and it creates a lot of cool little spaces while maintaining a grid...but Detroit has so many other problems that this advantage doesn't help much.