Together with John Armstrong, I have produced a pamphlet, I spy … scenes from micro-suburbia, as part of the Enabling Suburbs project. The pamphlet captures scenes from our sububan locality and endeavours to show some of the nuances and subtleties of suburban environments and life. While there has been a blossoming of engagement with DIY and tactical urbanism, it tends to overlook the complexity and difficulty of suburban contexts.
The examples used in the booklet are described as ‘scenes from micro-suburbia’ to make a point about scale. Suburbia is often described as a massive and creeping expanse of homogeneity that generates blandness, waste and excess. Big houses, big cars, big consumption, big brands, big blocks of land, big roads, big shopping centres, big boxes and so on. While that is true, it is also only one facet of suburbia. The macro-view of ‘suburbia as monolith’ makes for a feeling of placelessness and non-place. Over the years we have been living in Brisbane’s north, we have observed and documented numerous micro-views of suburbia that we have, put simply, appreciated.
The pamphlet is written as a series of personal encounters, drawing out personal experience and a growing attachment to place and community. It is intended as a celebration of the small everyday practices and exchanges that can make a place more meaningful and vibrant. The intention is to reveal a creative underbelly in the suburban environment that has a somewhat ‘out of place’ or urban resonance. It makes that the point that the urban can be embedded in suburban experience. The examples have been drawn out of our own fieldwork and experience as ‘embedded researchers’ in Brisbane’s north.
Click on the image to read and download I spy … scenes from micro-suburbia from SlideShare.