Uncommon Good

Posted on June 7, 2012


Student: Kimberley Howell

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The common man is not living life for the common good. The common man is living for the common self. The self who has perceived free choice in life of their wants and desires. But wants and desires turn into must haves with the help of the ‘idolised’ singing or liv- ing their praises: mobile phones, this years’ fashion, cars, their own piece of land with many bedrooms, home theatre, a yacht and space, space, space.

This life of desire is compounded with the need to become financially self sufficient, to get a hold on the real estate ladder before it passes you by like a steam train. This creates the perfect recipe for suburbia.

Own land. Tick. Spare bedroom. Tick. Media Room. Tick. Picket fence. Tick. Big land with a big house, feeling pretty successful.

The satellite suburbs have been created through this process of modern day economics, they create a benign manufactured land- scape that is populated by cars going to and from their epicentres: the shopping centre. Wave hello to your neighbour in the distance as you pull out of the driveway. There is nothing in these areas that holds people to place. No sense of community. Rossi is correct in his analysis of society’s need for the Artifact, an architectural built moment in time that connects people to that place.

We need to inject density into suburbia,

We need to return place and community to suburbia

We need to reassess what ownership is and what a successful and financially secure life is.

We need to take responsibility for the lost agricultural land new suburbia has eaten up.

How do we start this metamorphasis?


Requirements or incentives for every dwelling owner to create one public amenity or business as well as their own dwelling in the same area. The ultimate mixed use development.

Include a blend of: nature-home-grow-work-shop- play-entertain-exercise all mixed up in an environment that is engineered by its users and owners. An inter-connected system that the users own and take responsibility and pride for and is public for all. This leads to tackling how people own land and property.

This is not utopia. This can be real life. Change the rules to change the mindset to change the world in which we live. (Endnotes)

1 Rossi, Aldo. The Architecture of the City. 1982

Posted in: Final 2011