I think I'm pretty aware of history and how our society has developed. I can't blame America for developing the way it has, while it may have seemed like the most logical response in most situations, that still didn't make it right.
The American Dream became that belief that everyone deserves a house, and should have one. (that is, a single-family dwelling detached from other units) Then as our society developed, to that dream was added the "right" to own a car, a tv, a computer, and all kinds of other stuff... I think eventually we reached a point where we believed our homes were soley (whether it was conscious or not) to fit all our stuff in. Whenever you had more stuff than your house could hold, logic said to buy a new and bigger house.
Of course, I think this discussion in this thread took place before the housing market crashed and the economy started dropping. Now we see that not everyone should be able to own a house. Not because they don't deserve it, but because it may indeed be harmful for them. (especially financially)
We also need to get away from the attitude of buying a new house once yours is full of stuff or too big for your family. We need to stay in our homes and if we have room, simply add onto them. It would be nice for architects if we could focus much more on renovations instead of new construction. (unless the new construction is infill)
Families used to occupy homes for generations, now we are lucky to occupy the same house for a full decade.
Homes are for living, not for filling with stuff.
We need to treat our homes well, build them to last, build them so they are as beautiful as they can be, and make sure that generations after us can live in them and even expand them.
But also, we need to build more than just homes, and we also need to keep from isolating the homes from the rest of the world.