Adrienne Berard, writing for Nautilus:
As environmentalists strive to build more eco-friendly burbs, they are producing an unexpected benefit: Their greener houses lend a visual diversity to a residential model that has remained largely unchanged since the 1950s. Green houses are developed with their surroundings in mind, which means that green suburbs may one day vary dramatically from one part of the world to the next.
I think Berard has hit on something that goes unmentioned in her article—that suburbs could be testbeds for all sorts of sustainable building technologies. Cities are somewhat insulated from energy shocks—shared walls in high-rises literally act as insulation. Plus, the demands of high-density living dictate a compact use of space and materials.
But in the suburbs, there’s more room to experiment. Once the kinks get worked out, those technologies and techniques can move to the city.