In his post inquiring why we organize our kids so much, I like the way Tyler Cowen put his hypothesis 3:
Suburban sprawl is a tax on spontaneity. And as more kids get trapped into planned networks, it becomes harder to go it alone.
I think there’s some validity to that hypothesis. I never lived in a subdivision until I was 14, though, so I may be biased. But I loved the freedom of outdoor exploration, although I did complain at the time because as an only child, it also meant that I had to learn how to entertain myself in the great outdoors much of the time.