Comparing the traditional city to the suburbs is a little more difficult, because they occupy slightly different niches. Traditional cities seem better for socialization and pedestrian commuting. But the lack of pedestrian traffic is a feature for certain suburban residents; they don’t want people walking by their windows all night. People who have hobbies that take up more space also would prefer a more spread out neighborhood (think car buffs or gardeners). Perhaps they would fit on the outskirts of a traditionally laid out small village. It’s food for thought.
Another issue is white flight. It wasn’t only inferior architecture and city planning that drove people to the suburbs. There would need to be a reform of urban policing and perhaps some sort of reinstitutionalization of de-facto segregation to convince well-to-do Americans to pack themselves into dense cities again. It isn’t PC, but PC isn’t enough to convince people to raise their children in a neighborhood they don’t like.