Australia was born urban and quickly became suburban. Almost as quickly, the idea of the suburb – the location of the Great Australian Dream – began to attract its enemies, here and across the Western world. At first, though, the enemies of the suburb were far outnumbered by its friends. But over the past century and a half public opinion has gradually shifted in their favour. How and why did this revolution in attitudes occur? And how much do modern critics of the suburb owe to their Victorian and Edwardian predecessors?
This is an edited extract from City Dreamers: The Urban Imagination in Australia published this month by NewSouth.