Is the Australian suburb under threat?

Australia’s most famous suburban street

Originally uploaded by littlesaint_uk.

Well it could be according to a Brisbane-based planning academic.

Professor Tony Hall of Queensland Griffith University has noted that backyards are shrinking across Australia. In an interview published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Hall claims this reflects a shift away from the outdoor-loving lifestyle that Australians have long treasured.

Hall has found the newer homes have smaller backyards. He blames this on home-buyers desire for bigger houses and too little time to spend in their gardens.

Hall, who moved to Brisbane from England four years ago, believes that this is a change for the worse. Effects of this phenomena include children’s tendency to spend more time indoors on their computers, along with environmental impacts.

I find this research interesting, in the light of efforts in Melbourne to increase densities and reduce sprawl, which I wrote about in April for New Start. In the article, interviewees discussed how Melburnians may have to rethink the Australian way of life, which in essence is a suburban one.

We’ll have to see if Aussie’s favoured pastime of a barbecue and tinnies round the pool survive this cultural shift.

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