PHOTO: Many Australians are opting for less room for more living, but it seems to go against the conventional wisdom in Australia that you need to have a house to raise a kid.(Unsplash: Naassom Azevedo/ABC Life: Luke Tribe)

A few months ago a dear friend of mine, her husband and her primary-school-aged daughter moved from their spacious three-bedroom home in a leafy street in the suburbs to a ground floor apartment close to the beach.

Honestly it was a bit of a shock.

They had renovated their home only the year before. It was still shiny and new. Their daughter attended the local school and the area was one of those suburbs that a decade ago was quiet shops and the occasional takeaway chicken joint, but was developing a small bar scene and was home to a veritable conga line of cool coffee shops. And yet they moved.

The move wasn’t precipitated by wanting to be closer to a better school or ageing grandparents or for financial or work reasons. It was entirely to be closer to the outdoor areas they love, and to drive less.