What’s your favourite suburban element?

Big thanks to all who wrote in for our book giveaway competition.

We asked you what your favourite suburban element was to win a copy of Stuart Harrison’s New Suburban: Remaking the family home in Australia and New Zealand and we received a host of wonderful replies. Thanks to all the talented Sanctuary readers who wrote in – you made our day.

Here are some of the replies we received:

We live in a little Sunshine Coast hinterland town called Maleny, it truly has an identifiable sense of community. There is always something happening, music, art, land and wildlife care, cultural and  indigenous events etc. You can drop into town any time and find someone interesting and fun to share the experience with. We feel that our cohousing goals will fit into this community feeling through layout, building design and governance. – Ridley 

My favourite suburban element is the architecture made with adobe, a typical system to build in Costa Rica.– Erick

Trees are an essential element that make our suburbs pleasurable and interactive places. – Sue

My favourite suburban element is nostalgic. The verandah can offer so many opportunities – in solitude or with family and friends – with refreshments of course! A shady escape from summer sun and heat, to enjoy a balmy summer evening, or soak up the winter sun.– Karen 

Our favourite suburban element is the backyard orchard – great for eating (or, in our case, sharing with the birds and local wildlife), but also great for climbing, cubbie houses and shade! – Karin

My favourite suburban element is a nostalgic one from my childhood growing up in a small town in country Victoria in the 1960s. In town there were a number of cast iron letter boxes, one of which was on the street corner just near where I lived.

These boxes had some interesting design elements, such as the crown pinnacle and the human fist incorporated into the handle on the locked door, as well as other decoration around it’s cylindrical body ( belying the term ‘box’). They were a very tactile, very solid construction and at around 6ft. were tempting to climb and sit on top straddling the crown. It was no chore when asked to post a letter.

Sadly the one near home was replaced in the late 60s, early 70s by a modern, streamlined design crafted out of sheet metal with a pipe base. Not nearly as interesting.

As with many other changes in the last 20-odd years these ‘new’ boxes have also been removed but never replaced. I think that the loss of this infrastructure has diminished the suburban environment. – Drew

I like the old-style long driveway to one side of the house that stretches half the block to the garage. Perfect space as a kid to play with the basketball or ride a bike.– Chris

Favourite suburban element: mine is that little step outside the back door. It’s a little oasis for any member of the family either to be alone or to sit and watch the family buzzing around you. It’s where you go to think, or cry or marvel at the night sky – or just take time out with the dog (who just sits with you without asking any questions). – Troy 

My favourite suburban element is a community garden. Not only do they provide the seeds of resilience when hit by tougher times, they help weave the social fabric of the local people, transforming it from just a “suburb” into a true community.– Sami

My favourite suburban element is probably the social elements, sharing food/BBQs, kids playing together in the street/front yard, so architecturally I guess that having a front yard space that invites your neighbours openly to play/chat would be my favourite element…opposed to walls and fences locking you away from the world. – Tim

Image: Nick Carson at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

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Minimising paved areas in your garden will limit heat radiation and water run-off.

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