The suburbs are considered by many as cultural wastelands, the boring burbs, a place of conformity, boredom and loneliness. Yet the suburbs are a popular place to live, and where I am living the suburban sprawl is full throttle and growing exponentially. So I have decided to find my own suburban utopia, to enjoy the experience of suburban life, to immerse myself in local culture and events, and live blissfully in the burbs.
I currently live in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, in a place called Berwick. Berwick is a pretty place. It still retains some of that village look as you drive down the main street. Its main street is alive with restaurants and cafes. The housing estates are close to parks and gardens.
So why live in suburbia, firstly would be affordability, a larger home and block of land parks and good schools for the kids. The Australian dream ,a home of ones own. Whilst the promises that are being sold to people are the following:
Real backyard living.
To build a future
Perfect for the family
A children’s paradise
Wonderful place to live
Family friendly at its best.
Resort style living
Whilst these suburbs are full of houses that exude style and functionality. Peaceful private homes. Dream homes, prestigious homes, and elegant homes.
Sounds like utopia, however sadly it is not. What they sell us is the idea of a ‘culture of affluence’, a desire for more, a reason to live beyond one means, and travel longer distances and more travel. In fact with all the time travelling we have less time to spend with family and friends. Then there is the isolation and loneliness that suburban living also entails. Plus the lack of excitement,entertainment, and those communal places to go hang out and mix with other people. Whilst boring architecture and the lack of art that exist in the suburban landscape is a contributing factor to suburbia being described as a cultural wasteland.
The suburbs have been severely criticized over the years such as claims the suburbs are guilty of spreading conformity. The suburbs make people conformist in lifestyle and architecture. I personally have found that the suburbs lack the creativity and diversity of city/urban life. Plus suburbanites are so dependant on cars, because you need a car to get you almost anywhere. Then there is the idea of affluence, having it all, and ‘ keeping up with the Jones’ that encourages the consumer culture of the suburbs and entraps people into over extending their finances and defines success by what we have not by who we are.
Whilst if living in the city is rich with culture and experience why is it not that way living in the suburbs? If living in the country is getting close to nature and peaceful why can we not have a little more of that in the suburbs? If living by the beach is relaxing and carefree why can’t it be that way in the suburbs as well? I think it is time we started defining suburban living in a more positive light, and also that we demand more liveable, sociable and enjoyable suburban environments. I also think we need to focus less on affluence and prestigious living and more on community, nature, family, friends and experience.
So in this blog I will be exploring suburban living its good points and areas for improvement. My own personal experience will be to live blissfully in the suburbs embracing community, nature, family, friends and experience.