Post 7: Collaboration is Key

Post 7: Issue Mapping
Christine Ye

As a follow up for our stakeholder mapping exercise in week 2, we used a collaborative technique to map out the issues relating to housing affordability in week 4 and 5. This was a great way to pool together a very comprehensive set of terms and issues whilst filling in the blind spots of your own knowledge, which allowed for more meaningful insights. Below is a chronological order of our mapping process with some personal thoughts.

Collaborative Mapping

Our week 4 tutorial started off with a self-generated list of relevant or significant words we felt were related to the issues of housing affordability and then compiling with our small table group to form a collection of 80 words.

Our table’s compilation of relevant/significant terms to do with the issues in housing affordability.

As a group, our generated word list encompassed a variety of terms from human and non-human stakeholders of our individual maps in week 2 with the inclusion of more intangible and emotional terms such as ‘sacrifice’, ‘green city’ and ‘displacement’ – these were all significant terms that reinforced and added to our own understanding of housing affordability. These terms were then further combined with the rest of the cohort also focusing on the same issue, and it was interesting to see that the direction of their terms skewed in a different direction to ours which resulted in a fresh set of words with minimal overlap to ours as you can see below.

The super duper compilation of relevant terms (very comprehensive indeed).

The next step in the collaborative task was to write down the opposite on the back of each term (however we mostly just wrote the opposite term on the same side in a different colour)… this proved to be a difficult task as some words such as ‘time’ or ‘deposit gap’ either had a very subjective opposite word or just no opposite term at all. However this helps to consider a whole different side to the story, even though the ‘simple’ task itself was not something I would have ever thought of for extra word generation – this brought to my attention that even a few weeks down the track, I was still quite close-minded in terms of my emergent practice and thinking. This also raised the insight that in a social issue such as housing affordability, opposite terms are still relevant to the issue (when usually I’d consider opposite words totally irrelevant).

Generation of opposite terms for our word list.

This was then followed by sorting the terms in alphabetical order for convenience purposes which you probably don’t need to see an image of, fairly straightforward. We then mapped the stakeholders of the issue again with a clearer understanding of the topic as a whole – at this point I feel that our maps were organised in the most efficient way and also visually depicted the groups of stakeholders and the links between them in the clearest way. This iterative process allowed me to become more confident in the way I picture the issue in regards to each factor.

Our table’s compilation of relevant/significant terms to do with the issues in housing affordability.
A more comprehensive map of the human and non-human stakeholders in the issue, showing various links.

Word Sets

Following the mapping exercise, we were asked to choose sets of words based on different focus points, the first to choose a word which you feel is your main focus of the housing affordability issue – I chose ‘generational’ because I felt that there is a misunderstanding or spread of assumptions in regards to what each generation thinks of the other in terms of the housing situation, when in fact it should be a combined effort to help the issue. From the word set, it is interesting to reflect on several words that indicate the importance of spatial, planning and sustainable design, possibly due to our way of thinking shaped by our studies.

The chosen word set to describe the focus of the housing affordability issue.

The second set was consisted of words we chose that we felt were surprising or compelling in regards to the topic, and the results I felt were very surprising indeed. ‘Opposition’, ‘foreign buyers’, ‘negative gearing’ and ‘generational’ all indicate words which are expressed quite often by the media, with these words being used to generate negativity on a generally superficial-based understanding on the housing issue.

The words that indicate a surprising or compelling element in regards to the issue of housing affordability.

As our final task, the chosen words from the sets were sorted in order from being a more factual aspect to a more emotive aspect, with a strong consensus that the ‘Australian Dream’ and ‘home ownership’ should sit on the most emotive side of the scale and ‘metropolitan’ on the more factual side.

Terms ordered on a scale of factual to emotive.

On seeing this laid out in front of me, it was clear to see that I was drawn to the more emotive aspect of the housing issue. This was also reinforced through all the research conducted previously, I feel that this is why housing affordability is now a social issue. However there seems to be a gap or minimal studies, research and social media generation on the issue of housing being an emotive one, and this may be due to the tradition of a house being seen as a physical aspect of someone’s life. If we can generate and influence individuals to become more emotionally aware of the topic of housing in Australia, it could be a good way to also spur change and more action to resolve the issue on a collaborative level.