We are living in a time of great prosperity and when compared with people from anywhere in the world, most Australians live in spacious housing, in healthy surroundings, and have good access to jobs, services and facilities. It is in the city and suburbs that most Australians make their homes and it is the city that greatly determines how we live. However there are many aspects of our lives that are clearly unsustainable and which continue to get worse. The planning ideologies, which followed after World War II and the technologies of the last century have each in different ways, changed the world and Australia’s urban landscape significantly.
In the past fifty years government policies to promote home ownership have ensured the success of the suburban ideology in Australia. However, it seems increasingly difficult for people to achieve the ‘Great Australian Dream’ of owning a home on its own block of land.
The aim of this thesis is to examine New Urbanism as an alternative form of urban development and to explore whether New Urbanism can provide a solution to the urban problems facing Australian cities. In order to establish this, the historical development of the suburb and urban ideal will be examined. The predecessor to the contemporary suburbia will be discussed in relation to early Australian suburban models.
The problems within existing suburban models will be identified. In addition the constraints that limit the viability of suburbia will affirm that cities face a number of limitations. Although each by itself would not warrant the need for change, together the problems demonstrate the need for a new urban form.