canberra has perhaps exemplified the suburban city, lacking until recently much sense at all of an actual urban centre. rather than being peripheral, in canberra the suburbs are the city, with a low density population spread across an area equivalent to (well apparently) new york city. this might be where the similarities between canberra and nyc end, although the "bush capital" is changing quickly. a palpable sense of density is redefining inner areas, bringing with it (or did they come first?) trendy shops and cafes, and apartment complexes with names like 'manhattan' and 'brooklyn'. with these layers of gentrification older houses and apartments (particularly public housing) are being knocked down, and cost of living high. often i miss when canberra felt so regional and sleepy, despite a busier city being in other ways a good thing.