Suburbia is not too bad...heck I live here. Granted, it's streetcar suburbia (1900-1930), but it's certainly not car free living either.
I think a good distinction to make would be the kind of suburbia that's OK (subjective, I know).
The suburbia Wanigas? describes probably is/was nice and accessible for the non-drivers and I have known similar suburbia and liked it. Now the suburbia that spunky2 describes is certainly the stereotypically reviled suburbia that everyone speaks of. I have also known that suburbia and can certainly attest to it's spirit crushing capability. There must have been some weird change around 1970 that sucked all the remaining soul out of new suburban development.
But if one has to go low density residential living, I would prefer small town America. I grew up in a small city in northern Michigan. It was six miles end to end, but was an old(er) industrial city with lots of semi-abandoned places to explore and be harmlessly mischievous, which is essential for young male development .