The disadvantages of the low-density car-based suburbs that surround Australian and American cities are well known and widely debated. These include facilities located to the disadvantage of non-car users, wasteful use of land, cost of infrastructure, time and energy expended on driving, low incidence of social contact and lack of exercise. Nevertheless, the older Australian suburb also has compensating advantages for both the residents and the wider community. One is a generally high degree of bio-diversity. The presence of trees also provides shade, modifying the microclimate and giving aesthetic pleasure. The planted areas around the dwelling also aid the process of storm drainage by retaining water and reducing run-off. The private amenity space around the dwelling can accommodate not just a garden for the pleasure of the occupants but also barbeque facilities and an in-ground swimming pool. These not only benefit the residents directly but also facilitate social interaction with friends and neighbours. In many parts of Australia, notably Queensland, use is made of verandas to provide outdoor living sheltered from the sun. Although the roofs may be ver

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