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"A tapestry without instructions." Lived experiences of community in an outer suburb of Melbourne, Australia
journal contributionposted on 01.01.2018, 00:00 authored by Fiona AndrewsFiona Andrews, Louise JohnsonLouise Johnson, Elyse WarnerElyse Warner
The suburbs located on the metropolitan edges of Australian cities are popular residential locations, but concerns have been raised about social isolation in these developing communities. This paper explores residents’ lived experiences of community in an outer-suburb of Melbourne using a phenomenological approach and photo-elicited interviews. Nine participants photographed positive and less favourable aspects of their suburb and these images were used to guide in-depth interviews. Findings indicated that participants’ views on what it meant to be a community and how they went about making social connections did not align exclusively with concepts of community saved, lost or liberated, but included broad aspirations around community building, helping and being helped by strangers and online place-based relationships. Overall, residents’ experiences were complex suggesting researchers, government and developers alike need to pay closer attention to how residents themselves create community in new and evolving suburbs.