The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - NEWS - With edi­tor Robyn Wil­lis s robyn.wil­lis@news.com.au

Liv­ing large in smaller houses

As Aus­tralians, we love our space and big blocks and big houses have dom­i­nated the real es­tate land­scape.

Houses es­pe­cially seem to have gone through an obe­sity epi­demic, as home own­ers spec­ify ex­tra bed­rooms with ad­di­tional en­suites, home theatres, me­dia hubs and more.

And it’s easy to poke fun, writ­ing them off as McMan­sions for peo­ple with more money than sense.

But talk to any­one build­ing their home and that kind of la­belling starts to look a lit­tle ill in­formed.

In an ex­pen­sive hous­ing mar­ket, first home buy­ers are of­ten try­ing to think ahead to events such as start­ing a fam­ily. So even though they may not need four bed­rooms now, they’ll be able to stay put when the time comes.

When the world seems an in­creas­ingly dan­ger­ous place, par­ents of pri­mary school-aged chil­dren are much less in­clined to let their kids go to the park alone as we of­ten did and in­stead, they’re look­ing to pro­vide suit­able en­ter­tain­ment at home.

For par­ents of teens, well aware of the risks of go­ing out un­der­age, pro­vid­ing some­where for their friends to hang out, such as a home theatre or me­dia room, be­comes the pri­or­ity.

And for fam­i­lies with el­derly par­ents, self-con­tained ac­com­mo­da­tion, ei­ther un­der one roof or as a granny flat can be a great al­ter­na­tive to a re­tire­ment vil­lage or aged care fa­cil­ity.

If we’re se­ri­ous about de­creas­ing the size of hous­ing in this coun­try, per­haps the an­swer is be­ing a lit­tle kinder to each other, build­ing com­mu­ni­ties big and small where ev­ery­one feels wel­come and safe.

That may mean we’re a lit­tle in­con­ve­nienced at times, with a bit more noise from peo­ple of all ages. But that’s what liv­ing, breath­ing com­mu­ni­ties do.

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