So, I was just thinking (what a concept!) today about scales, and which ones we prefer. My own favorite, ever since childhood, is HO; for some reasone, it has always seemed to be the perfect size, the best compromise between being big enough for detail and small enough to create a miniature world.
Not to mention that as I age and my eyesight gets worse, N and smaller scales seem just too tiny for me. But that's just me. I can certainly see why people like N scale: after starting my first-ever layout (not even a real layout, just a big 3'x7' experimental diorama) and having trouble cramming everything in, it's easy to see how 1:160 would give you a lot more wide-open spaces to model.
I also wonder if there isn't a move towards N and smaller scales as people don't have the amount of space they used to. (Unless one happens to be filthy rich, as folks like "Spender" here seem to be, and not only have gobs of space but also the big bux for O-scale equipment). I'd guess, for instance, that N is pretty popular in Japan, where people live in little cubbyholes, compared to North America.
Of course, there's always the mixed-mode layout: HO in front, and N in back, for the distance-compression effect.