Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Understanding the Regional Alternative - Compare Like with Like

One thing that I find odd is the way in which metro people compare their particular city with regional alternatives.

People who live in one of the metros actually think of their life in terms of a series of overlapping geographic circles with boundaries determined by home location, interests, work, family circumstances all tempered by travel time. So depending on precise circumstances we might find:
  • one circle around home where people in fact spend much of their time. Boundaries vary, but are generally set by 10-15 minutes driving time one way
  • a much bigger circle set by the maximum amount of time people are prepared to spend travelling to do something a little special. If you live in Rosebery in Sydney, for example, you are likely to eat out in the Spot (5 minutes) far more than at Bondi (17-30 minutes depending on traffic)
  • another small circle around your working location generally linked to walking times. This circle may be geographically distant from the home circle, involving considerable travel time
  • another and often large circle (up to 80 plus minutes) linked to school and especially sporting activities given that venues are geographically dispersed
  • another still larger circle set by the distance people are prepared to travel for a weekend away. So again in the Sydney case popular destinations include the Hunter Valley vineyards (2 hours driving time plus or minus depending on where you are in Sydney), the Blue Mountains (2 hours driving time plus or minus) or the snow fields (6-7 hours depending on start point and traffic).

Anybody who lives in a metro city will understand this and know their own patterns.

But the thing that I find odd is that when it comes to comparing their city with a regional alternative, people seem somehow to think in terms of the city as a unit and compare it with the regional centre as a unit instead of thinking of their real lifestyle and then using that to analyse the regional option.

In the next post I will tease this out taking the NSW city of Wagga Wagga as an example.

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