The dream of owning your own home, even with rising property costs, is still alive today. As Australia is large with room to sprawl and new suburbs are popping up in every capital city.
Living in the suburbs has benefits; lower density, more affordable, a feeling of safety, family-friendly and most of all more space and larger homes. Unfortunately, popular culture has portrayed the burbs negatively; Kath and Kim expose mediocrity, bad taste and consumerism of the burbs. Nevertheless, more than 80 per cent of Australians live in the suburbs.
When I moved to the Gold Coast it was into new suburb which then was only 6 years old. From the hill tops in my suburb, the view is a sea of rooves. The developer planted lots of trees on the council strips and green parks in walking distance to attract families . Fifteen years later it has become quite a leafy suburb which is finding its own identity and a strong sense of community.
My home is a two-story house and on a hill which means that we hear things; parties, TV’S, neighbours listening to the races, musicians practicing, children playing in the park (my favourite sound) and on the odd occasion hostile domestics. I have gotten to know my neighbours quite well.
Living in the suburbs can become a mundane trap. The ritual of 9 to 5, breakfast for the kids, get their lunches, off to school on time, getting to work on time, picking up dinner on the way home, coming home tired, kids have homework, notes to sign, prepare dinner, watch the news, get ready to repeat the process tomorrow.
All this doesn't sound very uplifting, does it? It is the place where we bring people together to grow their family and their own family culture. Ours is often around the dinner table and we often stay long after the meal is finished. Regularly the meal ends with a card game or two. The house in the burbs is a place of rituals.
One ritual is the bin day. Every week across Australia and beyond people put out their bins on bin day. They check that all the rubbish is collected. Is it recycling day or green waste day? Then we wheel them out to the curb and salute the neighbour who is doing the same. When the bins are all lined up in the street the sun shines on their red, green and yellow lids and the light is reflected off the plastic. I found that there can be beauty even in the mundane activities of life in the suburbs.