Griffin Longley: Heading into our shared spaces can turn them into our backyards

The great West Australian dream of owning a backyard so vast that your kids stub their toes on the push-mower you lost to the weeds three summers ago while fielding their sister’s cover drive is, let’s just face it, over.

The quarter-acre block is dead, and backyards are shrinking faster than a Twisties packet in an oven which has been turned up to 11.

Of course, there are still sprawling yards here and there for a lucky few, but for the vast majority of us the big backyard has ghosted our aspirations.

Blocks are smaller, houses are bigger, lawns are harder to justify and apartment living has matured from a twinkle on the gold tooth of property developers to the lived reality of a growing many.

As someone who has devoted much of my working life to advocating for children’s right to play and to connect with the outdoors, you may expect me to be up in arms about this new reality.

Tearing up in my tea for the unborn treehouses of tomorrow.

Shaking my fist at the cranes on apartment block skylines and yelling at the clock to change its course and return the 1970s to their rightful place in the suburbs of WA.

I’m not.

Not because I’m not a fan of big backyards. I absolutely am. But I’m not mourning their loss, because you don’t have to own a paddock of double-gees for children to have access to the active outdoors play they not only need, but have a right to. And there remains a way for us all to grow bigger backyards.

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