The sale of New Motor Vehicles is often a good measure of where the economy is at and what businesses and individuals are thinking in terms of reasonable sized investments. Recent data suggests that things are going sideways in broad terms, however the stand out has been the ACT, the only State to record an increase over the previous month in both Trend (0.9%) and Seasonally Adjusted (1 .6%) data. When consideration is given to the same period last year, the big loser was Tasmania having fallen by 11 .6% on trend and 12.1% on seasonally adjusted data.
Interestingly, the sale of Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV's) continued to increase. These are typically
aspirational lifestyle purchases that people are making. With downtime becoming shorter and shorter, people want to make the most of their time off, something that a SUV is more capable of doing. The same thing is occurring in our housing built form. People are looking for escapism in their own dwellings. Private spaces that Happy Gilmour might have referred to as his "Happy Place". Escapism is the New Black. . . it is what is driving much of the decision making process in many of our bigger decisions. Watch the marketing on TV and see just how much of it is about removing yourself from the daily grind. It doesn't matter whether it is a Jeep advert or George Clooney flogging coffee. . .
Urban design continues to throw up green spaces that allow for greater community engagement, but is this contrary to people wanting nice backyards, their own pools and privacy in which they can escape from it all? Don't get me wrong, those green spaces are critical as density increases. However are we heading in a direction where we are valuing our privacy more as the likes of Facebook, Instagram and the push to public transport and the like remove more of our private time. That escapism is often very difficult to achieve in public places, unless of course the numbers are so great that you literally become "just another number".
If we look toward high rise accommodation and its shrinking size, then Escapism takes on a whole new meaning. People are spending less time in their apartments and more time in coffee shops, gyms, out and about and generally using the smaller apartments as “the pad in which to crash”. For this to be successful, our inner urban landscapes need to provide the amenity that allows this escapism to occur. With population forecasts for many of our CBD and Near CBD locations to increase by double digits over the next decade, one has to wonder whether there is enough green space and active space to cope with this ground swell of population.
Escapism - forget about it at your own peril.