Australians love their quarter-acre blocks. And why shouldn’t we? They’re what we were raised on. A big backyard with room to run and space for a swimming pool to spend the scorching Aussie summers – now that’s living, Barry!
It didn’t matter how big your house was, as long as your backyard could cater for a clothesline to swing on, a cubby house to hide out in, and enough grass to set up a makeshift slip ‘n’ slide when the temperatures really skyrocketed.
Oh, how the times have changed.
Nowadays, you’re lucky if you can score a patch of turf big enough to host a BBQ with ten mates. The “Great Australian Dream” of owning a quarter-acre block of land in suburbia has faded into just that – a dream.
It’s not exactly new news, as building on large blocks in metropolitan areas began to cease back in the early nineties. However, with housing affordability on the rise in Australia’s capital cities, it is becoming more apparent that our standards for homeownership are rapidly changing.
Population growth has left us with no choice.
With population records at an all-time high in Australia, so too is the demand for more dwellings to be built to house everybody. Unlike back in the 40s when we had an abundance of available land to build on, thus could afford to make each block a quarter-acre-sized, Australia’s capital cities nowadays just don’t have the space. In Sydney, houses are going up at the same rates as their prices, leaving citizens with no choice but to live in smaller homes. Western Australia has also jumped on the bandwagon, with Perth starting to sell off ‘micro-blocks’ consisting of just 80 square metres of land.
Heck, we’re even starting to consider ‘Bios Urns’ – a biodegradable burial option for cities that don’t have space for cemeteries.
But is population growth the only contributor to the changing nature of home builds?
Our priorities have also changed.
With the growth of the technological era, the way we go about our daily routines has changed. We are spending twice as much time indoors than previous generations. Thus instead of large backyards to fit our trampolines, we want larger houses to fit our 90-inch HDTVs.
More businesswomen and men are choosing to work from home, so utilising backyard space to build office/studio bungalows is becoming more popular.
The changing nature of the world around us has changed our own priorities – and it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Is it time to embrace higher density and adapt to a new way of living?
Embracing higher density living could have some positive outcomes for families choosing to reside in suburban environments. For example, having less space in the backyard would mean more utilisation of parks and other shared land spaces – which would create more inclusive communities.
It could also be a feat in terms of sustainability, as downsizing into smaller living environments would force families to buy and own less.
All in all, our living environments are going to continue changing in the future, and it’s up to us to adapt in a way that will best suit our lifestyles.The quarter-acre block might be a thing of the past, but encouraging our children to play outdoors doesn’t have to be.