On the weekend, I was working on an urban design assignment, which necessitated walking around an area I know well, taking photos and reflecting on the design qualities of the place. Located in a privately owned block of shops, this is one of a few outdoor/public sitting spaces in my outer suburban area. With a primary school and childcare centre located nearby, it cries out for some kind of community design makeover.
Increasingly, the research path I am pursuing in my studies and working life is focused on suburbia and suburban environments. There seems to be distain and disregard for suburbs in planning and design. In considering questions of climate mitigation, adaptation and transformation, there needs to be a more constructive discussion about suburbs and their relationship to the city, social relations and actions etc. If, as Tony Fry argues, we are moving into an era of ‘unsettlement’, then some thought needs to be given to what it means to ‘unsettle’ the suburbs.