Many of the more interesting urban projects are shaping up to deal with this lack of sense of place and furthermore retrofitting places built with the 1960s freeway and highways framework in mind.
If you want to see what the latest architect-developer-planners are working on for the suburbs some of the better examples are found in Denver:
Belmar in Lakewood
I think Urban Design has had a good influence on what Urban Planning should be doing -- that is re-focusing on the best management of land uses & associated issues with an idea to what good urban design should be.http://www.rsa.cc/index.html
This guy came and spoke about complete streets & living streets: returning the social and commercial aspects to streets. And advocating to limit the use of streets as conduits for traffic. :-)
If this type of conversation can be engaged in in ORANGE COUNTY, I think that this is promising for suburban futures.