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The Centrality of the Australian Suburb: Mobility Challenges and Responses by Outer Suburban Residents in Melbourne

journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2017, 00:00 authored by Louise JohnsonLouise Johnson, F Andrews,, Elyse WarnerElyse Warner
Living in the suburbs is founded on mobility, as residents move to the
periphery of the city, commute to work and travel for shops, schools and
leisure. While there have been numerous studies raising critical questions
on the vulnerability of outer suburban residents to loneliness, financial
and mortgage stress, the actual experiences and challenges posed by the
dependence of suburban life on mobility is rarely singled out for attention.
Through purposive sampling and then snowballing, eight outer suburban
residents participated in photo-elicited interviewing to detail their lifeworlds and mobility experiences. Problems ranged from getting to work to accessing schools, shops and even neighbourhood services as the suburban car culture was embraced but also constrained patterns of movement. However, there was also an array of positive experiences and alternatives to these patterns, including the pleasures to be found in traffic jams and the suburban environment and local actions to establish new pathways and means of movement as well as set up local employment options. Mobility constraint thereby generated a range of unexpected strategies, as residents exercised their agency to shape their experiences, create alternatives and to build suburban centred lives.



Urban policy and research






409 - 423


Taylor & Francis


Abingdon, Eng.





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2016, Taylor & Francis