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A look around Canberra – Crace

By Alexandra Craig - 20 November 2015 22

The suburb of Crace in Gungahlin was named after Edward Kendall Crace who was one of the largest landholders in the district. Edward Crace sadly drowned in 1892 while attempting to cross the flooded Ginninderra Creek.

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Crace is quite a new suburb, all the houses are quite modern and it was designed around the concept of community and living healthy, active lives. Crace has a community garden, and a huge outdoor recreation area which includes a basketball court, gym equipment and a big field area. You can often catch Funkshirlnal Fitness running classes and PT sessions here around the clock.

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There’s quite a decent little set of shops in this suburb that includes a Supabarn, several eateries, and a gym. While I was at the shops taking photos, I walked past The District and the most delicous smell was wafting out the door – I wish I had time to stop for lunch!

Crace cops a bit of flack about town for looking a little like ‘Legoland’. I agree and disagree. While a lot of the houses are placed quite snugly in the streets, there is actually a lot of trees and vegetation among them which can’t be said about other ‘Legoland’ type suburbs in the ACT. Some of the houses here look quite cool from the outside, and rumour has it there’s a house here that literally turns with the sun so the house will be kept warm naturally throughout the day. I haven’t actually seen this house but I think it would be awesome to see on a timelapse video.

Crace should be applauded for having a really active community network. There are events constantly being planned, fundraisers to improve the community, and an online presence where residents can share thoughts and connect with others in their community.

Quick Stats

Street theme: Parishes and land divisions
Federal Electorate: Fraser
Federal MP: Andrew Leigh
Territory Electorate: Ginninderra
Population: 563 (at 2011 Census)
Population breakdown: 47.1 per cent male, 52.9 per cent female
Average children per family: 1.4<
Crime: 98 incidents in 2014 (not including traffic infringements)

What’s Your opinion?


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22 Responses to
A look around Canberra – Crace
1
Holden Caulfield 7:51 am
20 Nov 15
#

2
joingler 7:35 pm
20 Nov 15
#

I was sceptical when I moved into a Crace sharehome 18 months ago but I really love it here. It’s only a 25 minute ride to Civic or Belco and Gungahlin is not far. Public transport is good and the shops are great as well. There are plenty of green community places. I’ve had study session just chilling under the trees in the small parks near Langtree Crescent. The sports area is a fantastic community gathering point and the large green oval is one of the few of its size that doesn’t have playing fields meaning it is strictly for community use 365 days a year.

The only issue is a lack of entrances/exits to/from the suburb. A Nudurr Drive extension and a connection to the Barton Hwy be helpful. I’ll admit that when you head up Percival Hill, Crace looks like an undesirable slum but I think once all the trees are fully grown, that will be less of an issue. You honestly don’t feel it when you live in the suburb.

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3
rosscoact 7:10 am
21 Nov 15
#

We often visit Crace, it’s a great suburb. Excellent shops, some pretty interesting house designs, well laid out, great park. I’d buy there in a shot except it’s a bit quiet.

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4
crackerpants 3:29 pm
21 Nov 15
#

Crace seems really well set up for community living, but I’m sceptical and would love to see how it goes in the long term. We live in an older suburb on a decent sized block (800+) with 3 kids under 7, and the thought of living in a new suburb (minimal backyard) gives me the heebiejeebies. We have a few parks in easy walking distance, including nature reserves, but as much as I resolve to take the kids to parks, it’s easier to send them outside. I can do it any time they need to blow off steam, and I can supervise them while I cook dinner etc. Taking them out means an inevitably frustrating 20-30 minutes finding shoes, putting them on, making sure everyone’s been to the toilet, putting the shoes on again, getting them all out the door then realising someone has their shoes on the wrong feet.

I’d be curious to know how well the community spaces end up being utilised by parents – do they have a lot more patience than me, or is it easier just to retreat to the media rooms which seem to have partially replaced backyards? Which is the broader question I have – do families now genuinely want smaller yards to maintain, or are they simply buying what developers make available and putting on a brave face? Conversely, I’m sure there are plenty of nice big backyards in my neighbourhood left to rot, but most of our friends in the (older) burbs seem to utilise their yards for gardening, exploring, trampolines, chooks, pets, lawn for playing etc.

It seems like an interesting social experiment (albeit a way of living that’s been around forever), but as we become more individualistic and indoorsy (where “alfresco entertaining areas” seem increasingly to be just like eating inside with the door open), I wonder if kids are missing out on the pleasure of the great outdoors. Does anyone know if town planners study and evaluate this sort of thing?

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5
rosscoact 9:39 pm
21 Nov 15
#

My grandson is the third generation in my family to have never had a backyard to play in. We’re all happy well adjusted, physically fit and spend our weekends doing fun things rather than mowing and gardening.
The backyard thing is great for some people and I don’t think less of people who want to have one. Having a privately owned grassed area is just not a thing that most people want or need around the world.

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6
farq 11:14 pm
21 Nov 15
#

crackerpants said :

Crace seems really well set up for community living, but I’m sceptical and would love to see how it goes in the long term. We live in an older suburb on a decent sized block (800+) with 3 kids under 7, and the thought of living in a new suburb (minimal backyard) gives me the heebiejeebies. We have a few parks in easy walking distance, including nature reserves, but as much as I resolve to take the kids to parks, it’s easier to send them outside. I can do it any time they need to blow off steam, and I can supervise them while I cook dinner etc. Taking them out means an inevitably frustrating 20-30 minutes finding shoes, putting them on, making sure everyone’s been to the toilet, putting the shoes on again, getting them all out the door then realising someone has their shoes on the wrong feet.

I’d be curious to know how well the community spaces end up being utilised by parents – do they have a lot more patience than me, or is it easier just to retreat to the media rooms which seem to have partially replaced backyards? Which is the broader question I have – do families now genuinely want smaller yards to maintain, or are they simply buying what developers make available and putting on a brave face? Conversely, I’m sure there are plenty of nice big backyards in my neighbourhood left to rot, but most of our friends in the (older) burbs seem to utilise their yards for gardening, exploring, trampolines, chooks, pets, lawn for playing etc.

It seems like an interesting social experiment (albeit a way of living that’s been around forever), but as we become more individualistic and indoorsy (where “alfresco entertaining areas” seem increasingly to be just like eating inside with the door open), I wonder if kids are missing out on the pleasure of the great outdoors. Does anyone know if town planners study and evaluate this sort of thing?

Crace is the perfect example of a McMansion suburb with little care to block ratios or solar aspect.

Looking on google maps, I can’t see a single house with a backyard. From the air (and the street) it seems like the houses are almost touching each other.

Surely people’s bedroom windows are no more than 3metres from their neighbours windows.

Crace changes everything, everything that most of us love about Canberra.

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7
Maya123 10:12 am
22 Nov 15
#

crackerpants said :

Crace seems really well set up for community living, but I’m sceptical and would love to see how it goes in the long term. We live in an older suburb on a decent sized block (800+) with 3 kids under 7, and the thought of living in a new suburb (minimal backyard) gives me the heebiejeebies. We have a few parks in easy walking distance, including nature reserves, but as much as I resolve to take the kids to parks, it’s easier to send them outside. I can do it any time they need to blow off steam, and I can supervise them while I cook dinner etc. Taking them out means an inevitably frustrating 20-30 minutes finding shoes, putting them on, making sure everyone’s been to the toilet, putting the shoes on again, getting them all out the door then realising someone has their shoes on the wrong feet.

I’d be curious to know how well the community spaces end up being utilised by parents – do they have a lot more patience than me, or is it easier just to retreat to the media rooms which seem to have partially replaced backyards? Which is the broader question I have – do families now genuinely want smaller yards to maintain, or are they simply buying what developers make available and putting on a brave face? Conversely, I’m sure there are plenty of nice big backyards in my neighbourhood left to rot, but most of our friends in the (older) burbs seem to utilise their yards for gardening, exploring, trampolines, chooks, pets, lawn for playing etc.

It seems like an interesting social experiment (albeit a way of living that’s been around forever), but as we become more individualistic and indoorsy (where “alfresco entertaining areas” seem increasingly to be just like eating inside with the door open), I wonder if kids are missing out on the pleasure of the great outdoors. Does anyone know if town planners study and evaluate this sort of thing?

From my experience as a child, the backyard didn’t give me much of the “great outdoors”, but the backyard was the place where we played when young; under twelve. The “great outdoors” could only be experienced away from the backyard. For example, I would go off riding my bicycle (or the neighbours’ bike before I finally got my own at 12yrs) around my suburb, to the local creek and other areas. Older, in my teens, I lived a few kms from a National Park with rain forest, so I would ride to that with friends and we would park our bikes and disappear into the forest to explore and play, both on trail and off-trail. Other times, we would ride past farms in another direction to a nearby village. That was the “great outdoors”. Even a large backyard can’t supply that. Unfortunately these days, children aren’t allowed to do these things, so I guess in that sense the backyard is more important now than when I was growing up, because life is more limited now.

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8
Listers_Cat 6:59 pm
22 Nov 15
#

Calling it “legoland” is very unoriginal – even Wollongong has one of those. A few of the locals are calling Crace “the West Bank” (seems fitting).

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9
arescarti42 9:24 am
23 Nov 15
#

crackerpants said :

Which is the broader question I have – do families now genuinely want smaller yards to maintain, or are they simply buying what developers make available and putting on a brave face?

Some would, and the ones that don’t probably don’t have a choice.

The ACT Government has decided that it’d rather abuse its monopoly over land supply in the ACT to extract as much profit as possible, rather than provide housing that people actually want.

450m^2 blocks and smaller are all people can afford when land sells for ~$700m^2. If you could buy an 800+m^2 block in one of Canberra’s newer outer suburbs, it’d probably cost $600-800k, and the typical person buying a new house in somewhere like Casey or Moncreiff doesn’t have that sort of money to spend on a block of land.

With that constraint in mind, I think Crace is actually quite nice. Not to many things come to mind when thinking about how it could’ve been done better.

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10
JC 10:03 am
23 Nov 15
#

farq said :

Crace is the perfect example of a McMansion suburb with little care to block ratios or solar aspect.

Looking on google maps, I can’t see a single house with a backyard. From the air (and the street) it seems like the houses are almost touching each other.

Surely people’s bedroom windows are no more than 3metres from their neighbours windows.

Crace changes everything, everything that most of us love about Canberra.

None of the above makes Crace unique, it is just an example of what is going on around the country.

Though do disagree with your comments about ratios and yards. Crace had very strict ratios and the blocks over 450 for the most part do have reasonable gardens. Sure from google earth you cannot see them, but on the ground you may be surprised.

I also echo the sentiments above. 15 years ago I would have dreamt for the old 1/4 acre block (which for the most part in older suburbs was closer to 1/5 acre) which would give a decent yard. But now days, and with two small children I personally am happier with a bigger house and smaller yard. Enough for a garden and a bit of lawn for the kids to play on but nothing that is going to take me all weekend, every weekend to keep going. Would prefer to spend that time interacting with the boys, even if it means walking 5 minutes to the local oval or play ground.

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11
Nilrem 10:31 am
23 Nov 15
#

crackerpants said :

Crace seems really well set up for community living, but I’m sceptical and would love to see how it goes in the long term. We live in an older suburb on a decent sized block (800+) with 3 kids under 7, and the thought of living in a new suburb (minimal backyard) gives me the heebiejeebies. We have a few parks in easy walking distance, including nature reserves, but as much as I resolve to take the kids to parks, it’s easier to send them outside. I can do it any time they need to blow off steam, and I can supervise them while I cook dinner etc. Taking them out means an inevitably frustrating 20-30 minutes finding shoes, putting them on, making sure everyone’s been to the toilet, putting the shoes on again, getting them all out the door then realising someone has their shoes on the wrong feet.

I’d be curious to know how well the community spaces end up being utilised by parents – do they have a lot more patience than me, or is it easier just to retreat to the media rooms which seem to have partially replaced backyards? Which is the broader question I have – do families now genuinely want smaller yards to maintain, or are they simply buying what developers make available and putting on a brave face? Conversely, I’m sure there are plenty of nice big backyards in my neighbourhood left to rot, but most of our friends in the (older) burbs seem to utilise their yards for gardening, exploring, trampolines, chooks, pets, lawn for playing etc.

It seems like an interesting social experiment (albeit a way of living that’s been around forever), but as we become more individualistic and indoorsy (where “alfresco entertaining areas” seem increasingly to be just like eating inside with the door open), I wonder if kids are missing out on the pleasure of the great outdoors. Does anyone know if town planners study and evaluate this sort of thing?

Media room replacing a back yard seems to say it all. A huge TV more important that fresh air, plants and trees.

Report this comment

12
crackerpants 8:48 am
28 Nov 15
#

rosscoact said :

My grandson is the third generation in my family to have never had a backyard to play in. We’re all happy well adjusted, physically fit and spend our weekends doing fun things rather than mowing and gardening.
The backyard thing is great for some people and I don’t think less of people who want to have one. Having a privately owned grassed area is just not a thing that most people want or need around the world.

I should qualify that my husband and I both grew up in a succession of small country towns (me in NZ then NSW, husband in SA) so large backyards are all we knew as children. Actual quarter acre blocks, not the 700-850 “quarter” acre blocks here in the burbs.

Maya123 said :

From my experience as a child, the backyard didn’t give me much of the “great outdoors”, but the backyard was the place where we played when young; under twelve. The “great outdoors” could only be experienced away from the backyard. For example, I would go off riding my bicycle (or the neighbours’ bike before I finally got my own at 12yrs) around my suburb, to the local creek and other areas. Older, in my teens, I lived a few kms from a National Park with rain forest, so I would ride to that with friends and we would park our bikes and disappear into the forest to explore and play, both on trail and off-trail. Other times, we would ride past farms in another direction to a nearby village. That was the “great outdoors”. Even a large backyard can’t supply that. Unfortunately these days, children aren’t allowed to do these things, so I guess in that sense the backyard is more important now than when I was growing up, because life is more limited now.

Perhaps I should have said the “small outdoors” 🙂 My clearest memories as a child are of poking around in the garden, exploring – collecting seeds, leaves, watching insects go about their thing – things that provoked a real sense of wonder and curiosity in children, the backyard microcosm. My own children do it now. If we want grand vistas, we have Narrabundah Hill and Cooleman Ridge on our doorstep (well, almost!).

JC said :

farq said :

Crace is the perfect example of a McMansion suburb with little care to block ratios or solar aspect.

Looking on google maps, I can’t see a single house with a backyard. From the air (and the street) it seems like the houses are almost touching each other.

Surely people’s bedroom windows are no more than 3metres from their neighbours windows.

Crace changes everything, everything that most of us love about Canberra.

None of the above makes Crace unique, it is just an example of what is going on around the country.

Though do disagree with your comments about ratios and yards. Crace had very strict ratios and the blocks over 450 for the most part do have reasonable gardens. Sure from google earth you cannot see them, but on the ground you may be surprised.

I also echo the sentiments above. 15 years ago I would have dreamt for the old 1/4 acre block (which for the most part in older suburbs was closer to 1/5 acre) which would give a decent yard. But now days, and with two small children I personally am happier with a bigger house and smaller yard. Enough for a garden and a bit of lawn for the kids to play on but nothing that is going to take me all weekend, every weekend to keep going. Would prefer to spend that time interacting with the boys, even if it means walking 5 minutes to the local oval or play ground.

I’m happy with the walking, we’re a pretty active family. It’s the getting out the door that has me tearing my hair out! But we still do it, and it gets easier all the time as they get older (just got the youngest out of nappies, light at the end of the tunnel). We have what most people would consider a large, high maintenance garden, complete with 25+ roses, but in all honesty, I would average about 2-4 hours a weekend in the warmer months (sometimes nothing, depending on what else we have on), and pretty much nothing over winter except pruning the roses. The thing is, I LOVE gardening, its good exercise and great for the soul, and the kids play alongside me while I do it – two birds, one stone.

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13
JimCharles 11:57 am
28 Nov 15
#

It’s done wonders for the adjacent Palmerston and it’s 800m sq blocks.

I actually like Crace, at ground level it doesn’t look so bad and the high cost means high wages needed and thus good income for shops, hence decent provisioning.

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14
Maya123 12:24 pm
28 Nov 15
#

crackerpants said, “Actual quarter acre blocks, not the 700-850 “quarter” acre blocks here in the burbs.”

Where? I live in Narrabundah and most blocks here are about 650 sq.m. There are a few larger, but there are also areas of smaller blocks. I once lived in Downer. That block was smaller than “700-850” too. Yes, some suburbs, such as the upmarket ones of Forrest and similar have very large blocks, but away from those prestige suburbs, how many of the more average blocks are 700-850? I’m interested. Where are there many blocks of that size?

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15
Kalliste 6:03 pm
28 Nov 15
#

As a kid I rarely played in my backyard, I had friends down the street and sometimes we played in their yard (but only for the trampoline) but mostly we just played across the road at the school. It was more fun than the backyard and we could walk or ride up to the shops if we wanted. We also used to like riding our bikes, skateboards and rollerskates (and later rollerblades) and our yards didn’t accomodate for that (other than up and down the driveway.

I don’t mind Crace as a suburb. For one, the shops are great, I really wish my suburb had shops at all, let alone ones of the calibre of Crace. I also catch a bus through there sometimes to work and there is plenty of open spaces to walk to and they also have the public area with workout equipment and basketball courts as well as the cute community allotment.

Maybe it isn’t for everyone and maybe the suburb doesn’t work for people with lots of kids (to me 3 is a lot of kids) but not everyone lives that lifestyle now and it obviously works for some people.

The biggest issue (and one of the main reasons we didn’t end up buying in Crace) is it’s too hard to get in and out of plus the public transport is pretty cr$p. I wouldn’t want to have to go to either belconnen or gungahlin on the bus to get to the city from there and I feel sorry for the people that have to.

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