Letter to the Editor, Canberra Times – 29.09.13
John Thisleton’s story (“ACT bucks downsizing trend”, August 27 p1) and the letters received in response, offer some explanation as to why so many older (but still very active) Canberrans are reluctant to downsize.
Ultimately it’s about choice and the current alternatives are not that palatable. We deserve more than just two sizes – too large and too small – to fit our lifestyle aspirations as we get older.
I would encourage us empty nesters to look at self-developing with friends on their own block of land. The current planning controls offer limited scope on other than RZ2 sites (close to local shopping centres) but there are ways and means to achieve more convivial housing scenarios, including adaptive re-use of the existing building or the addition of a secondary residence, rather than remaining in larger than necessary (often expensive to heat) and potentially lonely family homes.
Ultimately I would like to see the ACT Planning Authority relax their rules to allow more creative utilization of standard (RZ1) residential blocks for small boutique redevelopments so that we can not only “age in place” but also age in our established communities.
Allan Spira, Architect FAIA