I generally roll my eyes when the biggest criticism people have of new subdivisions is that all the houses look the same. Kevin makes a great point about this sort of criticism and urges one critic to have a little perspective.
All of our older communities that we love now, like for example Silver Lake, were new once, too. The trees weren't planted yet, the houses were probably all painted bright colors and some might even say they felt a little creepy or surreal at the time. Were all those Spanish colonial houses in southern California from the early 20th century built by Spaniards? My gosh - I feel so dirty and fooled by their charm!Instead of comparing how a relatively new place feels today against places that have been around for far longer, compare places of the same relative age. How does Seaside hold up against early 1980's strip malls and subdivisions? How does South Main hold up against the nearby power center or apartment complex?
This is an incredibly important point to make. If the biggest criticism you can make of a subdivision is that it is new, "cookie cutter," or that the trees are small, you are missing the real issue. I think it is important to look at the over all built environment surrounding the new development. The vast majority of new subdivisions lack the urban design elements that make a place attractive and livable in the long term, but that doesn't mean they can't be fixed.