The concept of Manifest Destiny lit a fire under the feet of adventurous Americans over a century ago, stretching a thin film of Western culture from sea to shining sea, and providing justification for all the sins against native cultures that we committed. But Manifest Destiny was a sales pitch masquerading as a pseudo-religious calling and its ultimate result has been the infection of every corner of the continental US with profit-motivated consumer capitalism, an expander of economies to be sure, but a primitive mechanism in the development of cities, a stupid, blundering process that, for the most part, has created a nation made up of cities without civility.
With the rise of the internet, a counterposing movement has emerged. As individuals discover their neighbors online -- in chat rooms, blogs, and Yahoo Groups -- they become more personally invested in their community. In neighborhoods across America, people have begun to take more personally how their environment is being formed. With the land having been conquered, cities are becoming more crowded and density of development is inevitable; yet as concerned citizens begin to take on a more activist role in their communities, they provide a check to the unlimited growth that would occur otherwise. And as a result, cities are becoming more civilized.
This maturing of American cities might be called Manifest Density and promises the advent of a more enduring sort of urbanism. The tyranny of the wealthy, who historically have viewed land as just another natural resource from which they can extract profit, now must engage with the politics of the masses who have now assumed active stewardship of the built environment.