Suburbs are increasingly becoming community hubs, with everything you need within easy reach.
In Australia during the pre and post-war era, there was a store on every corner. These made access to staples like bread and milk easy while providing a meeting place for the local community.
As more and more Australians began owning and driving vehicles, the trend shifted. Communities became suburbs and single stores closed their doors as people headed to malls and shopping precincts.
Now, the pendulum is swinging once more. Australians have decided they would rather not rely on their car for every little item and are more enthusiastic about shopping local than supporting big chain stores. The sprawling cul-de-sacs of the seventies, eighties and nineties are giving way to more integrated communities.
Introducing the urban village
This concept is prevalent on a global scale and even has its own Wikipedia page. This defines an urban village as “an urban development typically characterised by medium-density housing, mixed use zoning, good public transit and an emphasis on pedestrianisation and public space.”
Defying the trend of urban sprawl, urban villages are rolling back the dependence on cars. It is becoming easy once more to pop to the shops by walking or jumping on a bicycle.
Urban villages aim to be self-contained, giving the people who live there better proximity to services, schools and outdoor areas. This kind of community hosts office blocks as well as housing, giving people the opportunity to work closer to where they live. For many city workers, their local area includes a co-working space that invites locals to access a desk and log onto the Internet, enabling them to do business without having to first sit in traffic for hours.
Instead of large houses on big blocks, urban villages may have a higher number of terraces and apartment blocks. Member access swimming pools and community vegetable patches gives people the best of both worlds, with recreation facilities that they don’t have to look after and garden access without the high maintenance costs.
Finding an urban village lifestyle
Does this concept sound appealing? If you’re seeking the urban village life, you’ll find it in many forms.
Many of Australia’s inner city suburbs have this vibe, with ample coffee stores, great access to public transport and the opportunity to walk to work.
You may also be able to find an urban village as part of a new development further from the CBD. You can spot an urban village by the wide and safe pedestrian and bicycle paths as well as the good local selection of stores and cafes.
An urban village should be well lit and have a feeling of safety and security. The good news about this way of living is that many established suburbs are getting in on the act, with local councils approving and encouraging more diverse infrastructure and a community friendly lifestyle.