Patrick Troy, of Reid, is choosing not to downsize to a smaller home. Photo: Melissa Adams
Nearly a lifetime spent writing about, teaching and researching urban planning and housing hasn't convinced Professor Patrick Troy of conventional thinking on downsizing for retirement.
The 77-year-old Reid academic has lived in the same two-storey, three-bedroom home for 35 years, filling his spare time in an enclosed garden and dismissing as superficial the notion of downsizing, which came from people who did not understand the emotional and physical commitments to a home.
''I don't have a problem about people wanting to live in flats. I lived in flats in Sydney and Melbourne and London, Paris and New York and I thought they were terrific at that stage in my life and where I was trying to get to,'' he said.
Professor Troy's grandchildren are a compelling reason for spare bedrooms and a backyard.
''When my grandchildren call I am always able to take them into the garden and pick flowers for them, or if the strawberries are in season, they ask me to come down and pick the strawberries.''
His semi-detached, 75-square-metre house originally had two bedrooms. The previous owner extended it and Professor Troy added a bedroom and en suite. There is a small living room and a larger general purpose room.
Outside under the neighbour's overhanging gums and deciduous trees, a garden shed and study share the bedraggled plots of roses and bulbs, which he describes as a constrained jungle.
He said that after raising a family, women accepted their husbands at home, but not under their feet, so a garage and garden were necessary.
''Because I am reasonably keen on growing vegetables and salads I have actually enclosed it so I can keep possums out and lettuce in,'' he said.
After the children left home and completed a gap year overseas, they liked coming home, sometimes with their friends. Visitors stayed over when they came to Canberra for national institutions' exhibitions.
''We don't basically heat the upstairs unless we have visitors. And … we only heat the living areas of the house from 5pm and for an hour in the morning.''
Professor Troy walks to the city. He mows the lawn for long-term neighbours, who in turn collect his mail when he's away.
''I'm not leaving here unless I am put in a box and carted off,'' he said.