8: What’s the problem?

Post 8: Brainstorming possibilities for a design response
Angela Tam

Through the past weeks of thorough stakeholder mapping, it’s become evident that this issue is one that is multifaceted and impactful to various groups. This lesson’s exercise had a bit more direction than previous weeks of iterative mapping as it felt like we were finally beginning to collate all our found data and explore possibilities and opportunities for design. That said, it is almost overwhelming to think about how we could even make a difference to an issue that is so heavily controlled by the government and economy — both of which I’m not sure design could influence. Luckily at this stage we were still working collaboratively and so we came up with some problem statements to assist in further refinement later on. We began with defining the problem using the 5 W’s.

Who
What
When
Where
Why 

Defining the problem

1: Who does the problem affect?
The main stakeholders of this issue are Generation Y who have low to middle income and are looking for housing. It affects the future generations of Australians seeking to purchase a house.

2. What are the boundaries of this issue?
Boundaries of this issue include intergenerational differences and lack of mutual understanding, foreign overseas buyers, government policies, the economy and the personal agendas of those in authority. We also discussed pay gaps and wealth and income levels as boundaries in the issue, along with a lack of collaborative action and the issue being a low priority for young Australians.

3. When does it occur?
The issue is occuring now but is usually noticed when people are at the stage of looking for a home to buy.

4. Where does the problem occur?
This problem is evident in multiple parts of Sydney and from research, is occuring also in part of America and Canada. For those wanting to by homes close to the city, the problem of unaffordable housing is highly evident. This then affects the housing market in the suburbs as many then are put in a position to travel a long time to work.

5. Why is this issue important?
This issue is important because it affects future Australian lifestyles. People with lower incomes should have equal opportunities to purchase a house in a suburb they want to live in. This also creates larger gaps between the rich and the poor, and gradually the city will become saturated with the rich only and the those with a lower income will be pushed to the city fringes. The whole structure of the city could be impacted from this issue, which then influences the diversity and culture of Sydney.

Problem Statements

  • Sydney’s high cost of living paired with the low income of young Australians creates unfair opportunities for them in a housing market dominated by older, richer generations
  • If the majority of young Australians are not prioritizing saving for housing deposits, where does their income go? (and how does this affect their future?)
  • The Australian Dream of owning a home is becoming more difficult for young Australians
  • There is a lack of collaborative action towards facing this issue / There is a lack of innovative housing solutions in Australia – how does this compare to other cities?
  • It is becoming more difficult to live in a suburb that you want to live in and does not require a long commute to work

Of course there is still a lot more refinement to do but I feel that at this stage I’m most interested in thinking about innovative housing options, making this issue more interesting and engaging to encourage conversation (most articles from previous research were based on financial data and there was not much found on social media, which is what most 18-25 year olds communicate and share on), and perhaps something to do with the ‘Australian Dream’ and that seems to be gradually changing for 18-25 year olds – some sort of service or visualisation that re-defines the Australian Dream for each individual. Taking into consideration the age group I am designing for will also help as I continue to flesh out these ideas and create something that is relevant to my peers and I.