Saving Suburbia

Families that seek a sense of community are moving to new suburbs designed to resemble small towns

Everybody, at least once in his life, wants to live in a nice small town, right? One with sidewalks, neighbors waving from their porches and a bustling central square within biking distance of your house? Trouble is, despite the growth of telecommuting, most jobs are still in cities and suburbs. That's why the late-'80s experiment of building cute little instant towns in places like Seaside, Fla., never really caught on: many of the communities were too far from major job centers. So now developers are chasing a new fashion. Rather than offer an escape from the suburbs, they're struggling to reinvent...