I recently watched an interesting TED Talk from 2010 called Retrofitting Suburbia. The talk touches on some of the classic criticisms of suburban sprawl (high cost/impact of driving, more energy used per household) and looks how demographic changes are leading to alterations to the way suburbs are utilized.
There are examples of former malls being converted into arts and education centres and dead big box stores being converted into libraries and other public spaces. Some of these retrofits include greening elements, including restoration of wetlands and other ecosystems. One example given talked of the benefits of creating (or recreating) waterfront land by allowing a wetland to reclaim a former suburban retail parking area.
Walkability was another highlight of these redevelopments, and the creation of community space that was more “urban” in nature.