Thursday, February 18, 2010

Leaving McMansionville

Almost 2 years ago we were living in a part of Sydney known as McMansionville.

This area, in the North West of Sydney is dominated by large houses on small blocks of land, few footpaths and even fewer trees.

The shops and services are miles away (for most people) and the area is not serviced by a rail network but an infrequent bus service.

The McMansion
Of course we hated it for many reasons but the main one was that is was so soul-less.

On a day trip to the Blue Mountains, West of Sydney we found what we had been searching for - modest homes on medium to large sized blocks of land and a real sense of community.

Instead of feeling like fish in a goldfish bowl, we had a house with so much privacy, you couldn' t see the house from the street. And look at all that green.

Our home - it's in there somewhere!!!

Michael Grosvenor (2007) characterises sustainable communities by the following criteria:- (Check to see how your place stacks up)

- You can walk to some local shops.

- You can walk to a railway station.

- You can walk to a regularly serviced bus stop.

- There are paved footpaths in front of your house.

- There are cycleways.

-There are community parks and gradens.

- There is a wide range of community facilities nearby such as a decent library.

- The shopping area is busy.

- There is a mixture of housing types.

We tick all the boxes except the footpath one. So a very sustainable community I'm happy to say.

Sadly we don't have a footpath in our street

I can walk to my local train station. The bus stop is at the end of the road.

The shops are a 15 minute walk away and are busy.

I think we're pretty good here, much better than our last home and it shows in how much happier we are.

How does your house rate?


lala2074 said...

Hi Vanessa,

We too lived in a McMansion suburb of houses for a period of 2 years.

Our house was way too big, and it felt lonely, because everyone was in a different room and not a lot of togetherness. I had to drive about 10km to buy milk!

The suburb consisted of just houses, a couple of token parks that no one used, because they had their own park and playground in their own back gardens.

There was no sense of community at all. I was very lonely there.

Hardly anyone walked anywhere. Public transport was very poor.If I took my daughter to the playground, there was never anyone else there.

We moved 3 years ago, downsizing to Sydneys upper north shore to a townhouse. Everyone thought we were crazy.

However, I have never been so happy. I walk everywhere, take public transport (train 5 mins walk, and bus 2 mins walk), 5 mins walk to our "village" of food shops, bakeries, coffee shops, ballet school, music tuition, school bus to school, my local consignment shop, playground, parks, everything I could possibly want.
If I walk up to the shops, or take my daughter to the park, I almost always run into someone I know.

We have never looked back from moving out from McMansion Land.

Non Consumer Girl

Vanessa said...

That's so interesting NCG. Unfortunately we couldn't afford to move closer to the city or I would have moved to Glebe or Annandale as I loved living there many years ago. We also own a business at Liverpool so my husband has to be close by. We have never regretted moving to the Blue Mountains as many people up here are like minded to myself and I feel a genuine sense of community as well as a bit of breathing room on a much smaller mortgage.