For much of the last century, civic planning acted on the principle that we were only the next subdivision away from the American dream. Sprawl, dislocation, and civic disengagement was the result. Social capital, those social networks and the attendant norms of trust and reciprocity, became an endangered resource. By promoting communities that are denser, less car dependent and have a diverse mix of residential, business, and retail elements, "New Urbanism" seeks to rebuild the ties between individuals and their communities. Such communities, "New Urbanism" argues, foster more interaction among their residents, and lead to an increase in bonding social capital. This issue examines in depth the potential impact of New Urbanist design principles in the creation of social capital and analyzes the underlying premise of New Urbanism which argues that how we design our communities affects how we live our lives. Contributors provide a comprehensive introduction to the issues, assess what has been learned so far, and indicate directions for further research. Chapters include a comparative analysis of New Urbanist neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon, that reveals how initial composition of such neighborhoods by self selecting residents creates high levels of bonding, but community composition shifts over time also need to be factored in. The intriguing relationship between reduced dependence on the automobile and civic engagement is studied in depth, along with the clear need to change how we formulate urban policy and foster suburban expansion. Methods to increase collaboration among a diverse set of interests and the importance of civic intermediary organizations in convening discussions and fostering productive relationships are also explored.