Since early last century, transformation of the overall form of many American cities has involved progression from ‘monocentric’ to ‘polycentric’ configurations, sometimes described as the ‘bundled deconcentrations’ of expanding metropolitan regions. Indeed, mid-sized communities within many metropolitan areas now enjoy considerable independence of function and spatial identity. Other distinguishing features include an emphasis on ‘points’ and ‘lines’ in a ‘field’ and a largely two-dimensional pattern of settlement. Moreover, this pattern also has a sprawling mosaic-like quality, often depending upon when and where a particular locale was developed. At a lower level of spatial discrimination, modern patterns of development are primarily due to commercial and private real estate practices, as well as to a managerial view of cities. Prevalent throughout are symbolic proclivities towards a traditionalist perspective coinciding with pastoral idylls and the celebration of old, familiar, and venerable periods of America’s past, as well as a more contemporary view coinciding with a modern technical temperament, a technological way of making things, and scientific interpretations of people and their world. Also prevalent are commitments to majoritarian as well as pluralistic concepts of social organization and value, often pitting the will of a majority against claims of special groups, minorities, and individuals. In these and other regards, a distinction is often made with ideas of European and other foreign cities, and while there is certainly considerable truth to such comparisons, nowadays these distinctions hold less weight than they did half a century ago. Nevertheless, the spatial configuration and underlying processes of the contemporary American city, to the extent that one can make such broad generalizations, are a particular regional or local form of modernization, albeit early and influential, and not necessarily a universal outcome or prescription. Moving forward, probably the most compelling view of American metropolitan cities should remain largely process-oriented rather than adhering to particular images. At best they can be regarded as somewhat self-organizing systems of spatial events and relationships, where apparent system openness, fungibility, and a status of ‘becoming’ rather than being entirely ‘made’ will likely continue to appeal most to the expectations of hopeful inhabitants. That being said, advantage can and should also be taken of continuing spatial restructuring to address persistent, as well as emerging, social and environmental costs.