If by "bad" you mean "big," sure. The problem you're describing is almost entirely driven by the scale of American cities.
(The problem the article is describing is driven in part by that, in part by the very nature of what people tend to do in their 30s.)
American cities may be bad, and big may equal bad, but those are separate issues.
If you walk down a street in, say, Amsterdam, or down one in St Louis, it's two very different experiences - Amsterdam teeming with life, it feels close, safe and small. You can bike anywhere in 30 minutes; the layout of the city itself encourages pedestrian traffic. The marginal cost of popping into the bakery next to the wine store is 30 seconds, so the streets are lined with small mom & pop stores that care, genuinely care about how their street is doing, that the sidewalk is welcoming..
St Louis is a city replanned for cars - you do not move in St Louis but by automobile. The marginal cost of going to two stores instead of one is at least ten minutes, so you always go to Schnucks and call it a day. Biking from one point to another is a lost cause - I literally saw a woman crush the skull of a bicyclist with her SUV in St Louis just last month, he's dead now because fuck bike lanes.
And Amsterdam is three times as populous as St Louis.
Cannot recommend https://www.amazon.com/Death-Life-Great-American-Cities/dp/0... enough for this - urban planning has a massive impact on our lives.
Suburbia makes me sad. The density is so low that you need a car to get anywhere, and everywhere is outside walking distance.
You wouldn't have all that without a certain density that allows you to have all that within walking distance or easily reachable via public transport.
Bars, clubs and restaurants flourish in suburban areas, provided they target the appropriate clientele. There is lots of disposable income in suburbia.
Neither do straight bars. Where I'm from we call them "bars", and they cater to no specific culture.
Have you considered that the suburbs exist in their current form because some people actually want it that way? Not everyone wants to live in a city like NYC, evidenced by the fact that many people avoid high density like the plague.
Of the friends who I used to hang around as a student in Helsinki region (Finland), one lives in Singapore, one lives in Jakarta, one in Turku, and two in Tampere, one still in the Helsinki region where I am too. I spent a stint in Beijing in between.
We do stay in touch over Facebook etc, and see perhaps once per year on holidays or in family parties, but is it really a problem of urban sprawl that I don't see them so often?
Not really, it has nothing to do with scale -- it's all about the spread and lack of public spaces for meetings, cafe culture, etc. Paris is 10-50 times as big as tons of American cities (of e.g. 100,000 people) that are totally hostile to walking around for example.