Whisper this. I wonder whether Walter Burley Griffin got it quite right. There, I've said it.
In 1912, the architect from Chicago won an international competition to turn the Limestone Plains into the capital of Australia.
Over two months, he and his wife, the immensely talented architectural artist Marion Mahony Griffin, let their imaginations bloom and conceived a city of boulevards and vistas on a grand geometric design.
Distances were great, offering long views of monumental buildings. His vision of a capital and its now unimaginable 15,000 inhabitants was adapted as officials and politicians took control but the basic idea remained: it would be a humane city of neighbourhoods not a dense city of close living - flat and wide rather than high and dense.
The snag, it now transpires, is that they were doing all this magnificent envisioning before the age of the car. The American city from which they came was a pioneer of suburban living - houses with gardens. The architect whose philosophy they knew best was Frank Lloyd Wright, the great designer of suburban life.
But Chicago is also the city that gave the world the skyscraper, the very epitome of metropolitan, dense, non-car life. The Griffins chose the suburb and not the skyscraper.
And now, here we are in Canberra - or Car-berra as I've heard one official call it quietly, behind his hand. It's true we now have a tram, but nobody thinks Car-berrans will let the automobile rust at home, certainly not those far from the tracks.
Created cities look stunning - think of the wedding-cake buildings in the centre of Washington DC - but they are hard to get around.
I have seen it in Brasilia, the created capital of Brazil. There are vistas and avenues. There are buildings that architects swoon over.
The snag there, too, is that distances are great and the poor population struggles around. In Brasilia, people are often too poor to own cars so they cram on buses in the Amazonian heat. The unpoor fly in on Mondays and out on Fridays and have the big black limos (sound familiar?).
Great architecture is all very well, and we don't want drab, brutalists buildings, but cities have to be lived in.
I've been in too many buildings that have won prizes to know that they don't always work for the workers.
I've been in a prize-winning car factory where the brilliant architect had a concept (beware concepts) which was to have the production line going through the offices, so the poor white-collar workers had to toil at their desks with BMWs passing on the line above.
It's true we now have a tram, but nobody thinks Car-berrans will let the automobile rust at home.
In my opinion, cities come to life when they become unplanned cities. And Canberra is no doubt doing that - anybody who watched the Canberra comics on stage at the Street Theatre on Childers Street could feel a terrific creative vibe.
Washington, lives and breathes through the bars and businesses and the grit that got in the grooves once ordinary people had turned a planned city into a real city. Duke Ellington grew up in the grubby bits on the edges of the capital not in the elegant, wedding cake centre.
So I don't want to be too hard on the Griffins, but the city they bequeathed is not a holy site that must never morph and get rough and ugly.
This, by the way, is an argument among Canberra friends. Our city is to be defended when outsiders sneer, certainly when superior-minded Sydneysiders sneer. They, too, are addicted to cars. Sydney, it is true, is a nice harbour - but surrounded by grid-lock. It's been said that the idea of style in Sydney is to match the colour of your toenail varnish with that of your Lexus. No, we need no lessons on cars from Sydney.
We have our own style, founded by Walter and Marion but built by us today.
Pristine planning is all very well - but it's the gritty mongrel cities that are creative and vibrant and that live for the future.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.