Australian Heartlands: Making space for hope in the suburbs

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Allen & Unwin, 2006 - Social Science - 224 pages
Australia is one of the world's most urbanised nations, belying our image as a country of hard-living outback heroes and laid back sea-changers. Our future welfare is closely tied to the wellbeing of our cities and even more importantly, our suburbs. In this powerful account of the political, social, economic and environmental trends shaping Australia, Brendan Gleeson argues forcefully for the reinstatement of the city as Australia's 'national heartland'.

Australian Heartlands is a provocative examination of the health of our urban communities and their role in national life. It ranges across topics such as gated communities and the new suburban poverty sinkholes, the lost of the public domain, the experience of childhood in contemporary suburbs, environmental degradation and the challenges of migration. If you care about Australia's future, this is a book you must read.

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1 Heart Murmurs
2 Settled in Suburbia
3 The Great Australian Unsettlement
4 The Sea of Uncertainty
The War on Terra Publica
Urban Australia and the Young
A Chant of Urban Doom
8 Making Space for Hope
9 Making Hopeful Spaces

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Page 187 - The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government, as sores do to the strength of the human body.
Page 10 - The open fields about the city are inviting occupancy," Howe said, "and there the homes of the future will surely be. The city proper will not remain the permanent home of the people. Population must be dispersed. The great cities of Australia are spread out into the suburbs in a splendid way. For miles about are broad roads, with small houses, gardens, and an opportunity for touch with the freer, sweeter life which the country offers.
Page 18 - You don't have to be a mindless conformist to choose suburban life. Most of the best poets and painters and inventors and protesters choose it too. It reconciles access to work and city with private, adaptable, selfexpressive living space at home. Plenty of adults love that living space, and subdivide it ingeniously. For children it really has no rivals. At home it can allow them space, freedom and community with their elders; they can still reach bush and beach in one direction and in the other,...
Page 61 - The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
Page 125 - ... and China industrialize without repeating our mistakes. But instead we have excluded environmental standards from trade agreements. Like sex tourists with unlawful lusts, we do our dirtiest work among the poor. If civilization is to survive, it must live on the interest, not the capital, of nature. Ecological markers suggest that in the early 1960s, humans were using about 70 per cent of nature's yearly output; by the early 1980s, we'd reached 100 per cent; and in 1999, we were at 125 per cent.67...
Page 5 - As the Australian geographer, Clive Forster, reminds us: It is in city environments that most of us make our homes, seek employment, enjoy recreation, interact with neighbours and friends, and get education, health care and other services. Our cities determine how we live.
Page 18 - ... York's chaotic squalor but to me it is a 120 better place to live than to visit.9 So who is right? In one sense both. As Stretton so rightly goes on to say: . . .minds can be parched in any sort of urban fabric - or nourished in almost any. . . Plenty of dreary lives are indeed lived in suburbs. . . Intelligent critics don't blame the suburbs for the empty aspirations: the aspirations are what corrupt the suburbs.

About the author (2006)

Brendan Gleeson is Professor of Urban Policy at Griffith University and a leading commentator on urban Australia. He has authored, co-authored or co-edited seven books and has written numerous opinion pieces for the Sydney Morning Herald, the Courier Mail and the Canberra Times. He lives in the Brisbane suburbs with his partner and their two children.

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