Most Australians, when given a choice, will opt for the larger block on which sits a larger home, generally on the urban periphery or within a semi-rural area. I would argue that this is a lifestyle choice that has been collectively bred into us as a society of individuals.
The biggest issue I see with this is that at some point, our society will be judged on how we adapted to the increasingly prevalent issues of climate change and decline reserves of fossil fuel use. One of the ways in which this may happen could be through the patterns of our urban development. As much as we read into how Marian Rome went about a number of changes and reforms, so too will our current development form be judged.
At some point we need to understand that while the ‘ideal’ housing outcome for each of us individually may be that lovely detached dwelling in a peri-urban location with a suitably large back garden (with obligatory golden retriever), collectively we don’ t have the resources for such an endeavour. Of course, this is my own opinion but I feel that there is some merit to this argument. Not everyone should be forced to live in an apartment. Similarly, not everyone should be forced to have to purchase a house and land package on the edge of the city because house prices elsewhere are too high.
To me, the Australian suburb presents a bland, unimaginative and somewhat hollow living experience, not unlike the American suburban experience. It is the ultimate expression of late 20th Century individualism that contributes little to the social worth of the built environment.
If we view urban development as a tangible link to our past, then we really ought to start to take stock of our current development trends, otherwise we run the risk of becoming a short footnote in history, and I do not think our current generations deserve that just yet.