Most Australians enjoy or aspire to middle-class suburban lifestyles in their homes. Apartments—called flats—were not common until recent years. They became more prevalent because of reduced family sizes, the adoption of more cosmopolitan modes of living, a trend toward rented accommodation, and state government efforts to revitalize the inner cities and maximize expensive infrastructural investments in transportation, water supplies, and other services. These developments were accompanied to some extent by an increased sophistication, especially in the capital cities.
Australian fashion generally follows Western styles of dress, but is distinctive for the lightweight, colorful casual wear that reflects the absence of harsh winters. Food and drink preferences are influenced by global fashions, but also mirror the rise of ethnic diversity and the country´s capacity to produce most kinds of food, wine, and other beverages in abundance.
Popular culture is dominated by an emphasis on leisure activities and outdoor recreation. Great pleasure is taken in traditional backyard barbecues, bush picnics, and a wide range of organized sports, including soccer, Australian Rules football, cricket, tennis, baseball, basketball, volleyball, netball (a game similar to basketball, played by women), athletics, cycling, boating, swimming, horseback riding, and horse racing. Fishing and gardening are popular activities.
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