January 24, 2014
Adelaide is changing.
Well the CBD area bounded by the parklands is, though not most of the inner suburbs bordering the outer rim of the parklands. The change is less noticeable with the commercial buildings and more with the higher rise apartments. That means more people living in the city, and the city is small enough --compact--for people to walk, bike or catch a tram to get around.
Gary Sauer-Thompson, apartments, Adelaide CBD
The effects of more people living as well as working in the city are starting to appear. The change in the licensing laws allows the small bars to emerge. The laneways are being cleaned up; street art is sanctioned by the Adelaide City Council; small streets are being closed to cars to enable people to sit and eat outside without the car fumes and noise. The city is becoming a more pleasant place to live.
These change should not be exaggerated, as they are early small steps and they could be easily reversed by a conservative state government and city council who just see the city as a place for business to make a profit not for people to live in. For them people commute to the CBD from the outer suburbs in their cars to work and shop. People live in the suburbs because the city is seen to be polluted, dirty, noisy, congested, dangerous, lonely and drab. And you are not able to send your kids out to play in the yard in the city centre.
This conception has deep roots as Adelaide, with its green belt, was designed as a 'green' response to British cities, and its designers envisioned its new inhabitants living harmonious and prosperous lives. It was to be a 'wholesome' city in contrast to those English cities where the effects of the industrial revolution had polluted the "water, earth, and air. The expansion of suburbia after 1945 was another stage in the green or garden city.
Unfortunately, the whole garden city idea, which promises leafy suburbs and a quality of life of a bygone age is not relevant to the way we live today, because it depends upon ever increasing urban sprawl. We don’t need to build new outer suburbs with limited infrastructure because we have need to fix what we already have by increasing density in areas that already have the infrastructure. These urban ideas are not popular in Australia with conservatives.
The other major change which is more noticeable and enduring is that the people living in the city are young people, and many of them are non Anglo-Saxon (mostly Asian). Unlike most of the suburbs the the city centre is multicultural. Adelaide is finally throwing off its Anglo character inherited from the British Empire days.