By Brendan Gleeson
The inaugural winner of The Iremonger Award for Writing on Public concerns, it is a provocative exploration of urbanised Australia and a passionate plea for the suburbs to receive their rightful position in Australia's public recognition.
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Additional info for Australian Heartlands: Making space for hope in the suburbs
These fault lines are beginning to manifest again in our cities, and after decades of neglect and worse are now deeper than many people will have imagined, reaching down to the substrate of Australian liberal democracy. It is worthwhile, therefore, to take a moment to review—if only in sketch detail—the consequences of reform phase one, which many people, of course, never escaped from. Not all made it to the times of plenty; many lives were trampled underfoot in the march to the miracle economy.
It was driven by the political mainstream’s pragmatic recognition of the need to protect the market system itself from an endemic and historically evident tendency to ruin its own natural base through resource exhaustion and pollution. Both sets of protections—natural and social—were introduced by successive state and federal regimes. Again, the aim was not to achieve radical social transformation but Australian Heartlands-PAGES 6/3/06 2:03 PM Page 30 30 australian heartlands to secure the long-term future of the market economy from the potentially ruinous consequences of its chronic short-termism.
30 The shift to the suburbs realised important material gains for working and middle class families. Throughout the Australian Settlement there was a continuous, rarely disrupted, resettlement of the nation in progressively improved suburban environments. The Australian city by the 1960s was characterised by a broad social and geographic similarity, but not by outright homogeneity. In the suburbs, a class geography was evident: the workers and the bosses tended to live in distinct subregions. An emergent commentary, including Stretton’s Ideas for Australian Cities, began to point to the inequities in service access and environmental amenity that marked the suburban landscape.
Australian Heartlands: Making space for hope in the suburbs by Brendan Gleeson