From the classic Soft City by Jonathan Raban:
Bits and pieces of ideal cities have been incorporated into real ones; traffic projects and housing schemes are habitually introduced by their sponsors as at least preliminary steps to paradise. The ideal city gives us the authority to castigate the real one; while the sore itch of real cities goads us into creating ideal ones.
What we want is to strip the pomp away from the core. Embrace the city’s aesthetic nakedness. Invest in people not place.
What we want is to keep the real. Acknowledge the real. Know that the ideal is only a pull by inspirational force to make the real as quality as it can possibly be.