Does new urbanism represent a ‘social synthesis’ as Krier (1991:119) would have it, or is it merely the latest example of physical determinism presented by a profession especially prone to simplified notions of how to create positive social behaviour (Harvey 1997)? Certainly, the advocates of new urban forms slip into ‘messianic assertions about the important role of good physical design in making a good society’ (Pyatok 2000:810). The work of designers involves manipulating space: that may make them prone to generating theory to affirm their beliefs that their actions are effective, both in an aesthetic and a social sense. Planners may prove slightly more cautious, but they increasingly see new urbanism as a means to desired ends (Garde 2004). Practitioners often succumb to deterministic language and expectations.