Could moving house often be the new normal?
Stand on your average suburban street corner in Australia and chances are you'll spot some packing boxes or an abandoned couch.
We have become an increasingly flighty population, moving far more frequently and casually than previous generations.
The trend was highlighted by a survey on Australia's rental market released earlier this year by consumer advocacy group Choice, National Shelter and the National Association of Tenant Organisations.
One third of Australians rent, and more than half of all lease agreements do not extend beyond a year.
And according to a 2008 ABS study, 90 per cent of people aged 25 to 29 have moved in the last five years, and 40 per cent of them have moved three or more times.
Historically, the home has been weighted with symbolic ties to family, heritage and security — a place worth defending and a legacy.
But is the conceptual understanding of the home an inherent human need, or are we simply refusing to give up on an out-dated mythology?
"The brain rewires constantly. Every experience that you give it, gives it an opportunity to rewire," Jan Golembiewski, a researcher into architectural psychology and director of architectural firm Psychological Design, says.
According to Dr Golembiewski, the brain can deal with moving from house to house. But our ability to connect to where we live is dependant on how psychologically healthy we are.
"The moment we become vulnerable and we lose our edge psychologically, so to speak, we lose our ability to adjust, we lose our ability to rewire," he says.
"That's a real danger."
Dr Golembiewski believes that the increasing commercialisation of the home — the idea of the investment property — undermines its fundamental purpose as a place of refuge, and can ultimately cause stress and discomfort.
"If you [want] a home to look valuable, you might end up with highly polished surfaces everywhere, where every noise echoes and every hair is visible — and you can't relax in such a place," he says.........