get shaping...

The science is in, and we know that its time to make changes to live live a healthier life. 

Many people are taking up the challenge - changing their behaviour: saving water, catching public transport, using less energy. Thats all good, but it will not change enough.  We know that worthwhile changes like that, need to be coupled with more far-reaching changes.  

At Shaping Suburbia we believe in the need to create places and environments where making the right choices are the easy everyday choices for everyone

We need to shape our built environment so that we can live happier, healthier and more sustainably.

Its best if you continue reading this section now, but if you can't wait and want to jump ahead to look at:
    HOW its done click here

    the FINANCIAL model, click here

     the METHODOLOGY click here

so what does it look like?

At Shaping Suburbia we believe that the best way to get the best suburbs is to slightly increase the concentration of people from that of conventional suburbia. 

No, we're not talking about residential apartments - just slightly more people in the same space. 

It is a common misconception that increasing density leads to ‘high density’. Understanding and balancing the implications of density as a controllable variable is the key issue here.

When we ask "what does it look like?", Shaping Suburbia is interested in the concentration of people - we aren't focussed on what the buildings actually look like.  We don't want to get proscriptive about the built form and we don't need to.  When we are talking about living well, the built form doesn't matter as much as getting the density right.  

Getting the density 'right' means about 35-45 dwellings per hectare. Shaping Suburbia research shows that this represents a 'sweet spot' in the gradation of possible densities. To understand the methodology behind this, click here.

An example of what that that density might mean could be about as many dwellings per hectare (or people per square Km) as parts of Newtown or Paddington in NSW Australia. 

If residential density is increased from suburbia slightly, but not too much, in fact just to the 'sweet spot' then some magical things start to happen:
  • Corner shops can financially survive at all / far better and they also tend to stay open longer
  • infrastructure costs per house decrease.
  • land area is smaller which means houses become more affordable
  • Neighbourboods become better connected. People know more locals
  • Public transport services become more viable and increase in frequency
  • People walk more: you can walk to shops, transport and other things you might drive to now
  • you will live healthier
  • Shared community facilities like libraries and halls get much better patronage and can stay open longer

These are big claims, but they are claims that are backed up by experience - such as 'how do kids in your area get to school?' - and they are backed up by reliable data. 

If you would like to see data relating to current suburbia, look at the section Suburbia Now and then look under each attribute. If you would like to see data and approach relating to how they could be shaped look at section Methodology.

what about apartments?

Multi-unit residential apartments are an important part of cities growth and will continue to be built both in cities and in dense urban areas.

Shaping Suburbia's focus, however, is on the (existing) suburbs and the role they will play as a key part of our growing cities.  

A key component of Shaping Suburbia's proposition of the 'sweetspot' of residential density, is that you dont need to live in a block of units if you dont want to - you still live in a house.  This is usually a critical determining factor for those who choose to live in suburbs.

Whether is rational or not, lots of people (in our culture) have an aversion to living in units.

At Shaping Suburbia we believe it is possible to retain the low-rise, leafy, free-hold title and familiar characteristics of the suburbs while slightly increasing the concentration of people - thereby delivering the improved community, sustainability and walkability of the area. 

HOW : If you want to find out how its done click here

FINANCING : To find out about the financial model, click here

METHODOLOGY : To find out about the Methodology click here