David Holmgren, the co-founder of Permaculture, once said;
“The suburbs of our Australian cities have, in the main, become sterile wastelands, lacking in any true spirit of community, impoverished of local resources, and filled with fearful people whose daily efforts are focused elsewhere.”
I reckon he hit the nail on the head with this quote. Looking around my own town on the weekend, particularly the parts of it built over the last 5 or so years, I have noticed a few trends that I would like to share.
|Typical Australian Suburb|
Our town of Melton has become a ‘dormitory suburb’ or a collection of them, designed for cars and not the people that live in them. With less or infrequent public transportation servicing these new suburbs, people are forced to have to own a car or even two. With few jobs, retail or industries, people are forced to work in neighbouring areas closer to Melbourne and only come home to roost so to speak.
The average household size has been shrinking with extended family units becoming scarce. However the home sizes, or as I like to call them McMansions, have increased, and yards are getting smaller and smaller. Windows often overlook the neighbours garage, or a picturesque view of the back fence which is no more than 5 metres away, or if there is a view, it is of streets devoid of people.
People treasure entertainment areas which sacrifice what little backyard remains. No space left for growing food, with their only idea of food security only a drive away at the supermarket. Speaking of food security, urban boundaries get forced further out each year, gobbling up prime agricultural land and space for market gardens. This in turn forces the use of more and more transportation to get food to these suburbs, and discourages land use for local food supply due to high land prices subject to residential development.
So what can be done to retrofit the suburbs when energy decent is looming not so far in the future? Will be able to do something with diminishing capital being available to us?
Well, over the next few days I will be writing about a few possible solutions that we could do to fix up the ‘burbs that would make a difference to the current modus operandi.
I have a few ideas that maybe useful 😉