I agree with almost all of the article. I also think the Houston model can work well for second tier cities such as Christchurch. However, I also think there are limits to its applicability. Houston just didn't feel like a great city when I was there and all my co-workers (who were all transplanted from elsewhere) hated living there because they didn't like it as a city. Whereas Paris by contrast has great aesthetics and that happened because Haussmann was a genius and imposed taste on the developers. We can't clone Haussmann, but we can note that visual coherence can make people feel better about living in cities.
So yes, ditch the planners by all means, but at the start of the process get developers, public officials and architects (probably including some international firms, to challenge the status quo) to agree a design language appropriate to a city's history and values and maybe a transect with a rough guide as to the density gradient from CBD to outer suburbs. Keep a presumption in favour of a right to build but allow the combined body the right to veto developments that were violently offensive to the design book. In return get rid of zoning, height limits, urban growth boundaries and "heritage" listing.