Observations on how we are being backed into a corner
The propaganda against the 1/4 acre block started a few decades ago. - appearing as opinion pieces in newpapers. I believe this propaganda was aimed at very ordinary people in or suburbs with traditional blocks. It was to prepare them to relinquish their lifestyle and for their children not to expect it in the normal course of events. I don't think it was aimed at rich people as they are different - a special case. The very rich can actually do the opposite to "urban consolidation." The rich can buy the next door property in Toorak, bulldoze the house and annexe the land for their own pleasure in the form of a tennis court or swimming pool.
The propaganda seems to have been on behalf of those who wanted to effect radical change in values and rights for the sake of population growth, which for various reasons they derived benefit from - usually financial.
Why this is important
The 1/4 acre block affords some local self sufficiency to the ordinary person. 50 years ago it was quite common for people to keep chickens in the suburbs- some still do but I don't think it's as usual. There is probably an economic reason for this . Vegetable gardens were common then and they may be trying to make a return now.
Recently in Sydney I visited a cousin who has built her eco friendly dream home in the suburb of Ryde. The garden was for low rainfall, the house worked on passive temperature control and in the corner of this living arrangement was a chicken house with inhabitants. Area of block- 1/4 acre approx.
As oil depletion continues I believe self sufficiency will become more important. The more land per family we lose the less self sufficient we can be.
How dare we be talked into denying children the rights that we grew up with?
I believe the people of Melbourne are losing their land by stealth and propaganda. I also wonder how people can, on the one hand, be talked into having more children, and, on the other hand, talked into letting go of those children's rights.
In 2007 I made a submission to the Melbourne 2030 review. I made some of the points below. (Now Melbourne 2030 is out of date, of course. They are trying to bring in something even worse. )
Urban temperatures rising, trees and water disappearing
Urban temperatures are higher than those in the country, and made worse by air conditioners. I worry about the reduced ability of land to absorb water with increased concrete bitumen, housing and impermeable surfaces in general. I can see this affecting the water table and possibly having ramifications with regard to street trees and other trees and vegetation on public land. We should be preserving trees to keep the city cool and moist instead of infilling and concreting everything.
I would have thought with all the apartments and townhouses shooting up in the bastardized process known as suburban infill, that we would want to keep backyards full of trees etc. Never mind that I'll never own a $1.8M 3BR house in Hawthorn East, I'm just glad someone owns it so that there aren't twenty people in 6 townhouses there instead.
So God bless those rich people in their big houses!! (Unless of course they are developers and politicians telling the rest of us to go and live in high-rise infills.)
Even if I have hardly any garden at all, I want to protect other people's gardens. They are part of the environment and even if the garden is not mine- I benefit if I walk past or live near it. I breathe the oxygen that its greenery exudes. I am cooled by the transpiration of the leaves. Even if I live in a one bedroom apartment in the same street, I am better off if this house and garden remain than if this house in turn is bulldozed for another block of apartments. I can see what the obvious counter argument is to this - homelessness - but that problem is circular; the root cause of homelessness is rapid population growth.
Urban wildlife is yet another issue - one I feel so deeply about that I can hardly even write of it. Gardens provide some habitat for native animals, birds reptiles, and insects. The more the city is consolidated, the more predictable every space within it becomes and there will be little room for any species other than humans, dogs and cats. And, even then, the dogs must be on leads and the cats must be kept indoors. It would make more sense if we made friends with the neighbourhood possums, but the government has designated them as pests.
If we continue with population growth at 2% per annum- we stand to lose the few advantages we still have very quickly. If we have a population growth rate of 1% per annum we will still lose it but at half the speed.
I do not think that Australian politicians have a moral or any other right to do this to us.