Approaches to design for change, design-led ethnography

By Clyde Overton


My interview consisted of simple set of questions that give a strong insight to my interviewee’s current position in the housing market. Moreover, my interviewee is within the 18-25 age group, and is a student. The interview gave a compelling construct to a person within the same position and age group as myself. Moreover, as the interviewee had moved out of home, this gave an insight in how the housing affordability market can my tackling for a person with the 18-25 age group as a student.

The interview transcribed;

What is your current housing situation?
I moved from away from home to go boarding school, my education is a huge thing that my parents want me to gain. So I stayed in Sydney to further my education, I went to university so I’m living away from home, in Kingsford. Specifically living in Kingsford because of housing affordability. If I was able to live my desired area, it would be either in Bondi Junction or Newtown. However, the cost to live there is just way too high, me being a student I just couldn’t be able to live there. And Kingsford is quite affordable cause it’s a bit further out. I live alone with two other girls that are both uni students, a shared house situation.

Is that a standalone house/block/townhouse?
It’s actually a semi-detached house, it’s really annoying. There’s an old couple that live out the back of our house. Because my land lord doesn’t have split meter for gas/electricity so there’s no way to distinguish an even amount of how much is being used in each area, so we’re just getting billed with the old people’s gas/electricity bill because they just refused to pay any more than what they’ve fixed, which is I think is totally illegal. People are taking advantage of us cause we’re students.

Where do you see yourself in the future in terms of housing?
I’ll probably see myself in an apartment, I don’t see myself living in a house because there’s no way I could afford it in the city and I want to be living in the city, so I can see myself in an apartment, just a small place. I would to love to move to Newtown, however in 10 years probably won’t want to live in Newtown anymore, so probably just somewhere still near the city, Randwick. 10 years is a long time. I want to move to New York. But definitely in an apartment, not a house.

What kind of area do you see yourself in?
Randwick. I like that area.

Have you looked into housing there?
I was going to live in Randwick, but we got the house in Kingsford, but a little bit more expensive that Kingsford.

What are your thoughts when you first hear about affordable housing?
Impossible, it’s not real. Housing commission, public housing. But I think affordable housing relates to everyone cause housing costs in Sydney especially is so expensive.

There are currently apartment blocks that are designed and developed for affordable prices. They cut costs in materials, facilities, etc. what are your thoughts on those projects?
I think it’s incredible. It’s good. I think there’s two main people that get affected by it, old pensioners, and young students. They’re the two main people. Both of us don’t have proper jobs and income, and we need to be able to pay for living as well as housing, and without a proper income its rather different. I think that’s great that they’re cutting costs.



After my interview, I instructed a probe to my interviewee. The guidelines of the probe include to: Observe your friends current housing situation, and document their age and position (e.g student). This served as a simple, yet effective way in grasping the target audience of the housing market from a similar position as the interviewee and myself. Below you can view the results of the probe. They display a strong insight in the current housing positions that young adults are in, from my interviewee’s perspective. Overall, I found this probe an effective way in finding primary information that I myself would find overdone. Moreover, I think I could have asked more in depth questions, which could have resulted in more interesting answers and information. Furthermore, here are my five point summary of the analysis.

  1. Most are staying at home simply due to them cannot affording to move out.
  2. For most of those studying, they find full-time stops them from working enough to earn money to move out.
  3. Almost all questioned were within their early twenties.
  4. More detail could be added if I pushed for more questions, and to more people.
  5. The ratio of people living at home/moved out is almost the same.