In order to flesh out a design proposition in response to the issue of housing affordability, I did some individual brainstorming. During this process, I considered all three emergent practices in order to stay open and flexible to the direction of my proposition. It was liberating working with pen and paper, jotting down anything and everything that came to mind.
Possible Design Responses
Following the initial individual brainstorming exercise, I identified the five most intriguing ideas that I wanted to further nut out.
Out of the five ideas discussed above, I felt most passionate about the Great Australian Dream Catcher direction. I am fascinated by the prospects of collecting poetic and qualitative data to explore an issue that affects me emotionally.
‘Great Australian Dream Catcher’—a draft proposal
This system seeks to expose the realities of whether ‘Generation Y’ are able to attain the ‘Great Australian Dream’ of home ownership. A web scraping tool filters concerns and discussions shared by ‘Generation Y’ on social media, regarding their success and/or failures of buying their first home. This could also involve a data visualisation that shows where members of ‘Generation Y’ are homeowners and/or a measurement of positive vs. negative comments. The emergent information collected is of a qualitative and poetic nature. It does not deal with facts or statistics in a traditional sense. Instead it elevates the importance of individual opinions and commentaries.
The information is filtered using a web-scraping tool such as a Twitter bot, that collects data (comments) from users within the 18-35-year-old bracket, on the issue of housing affordability. Due to the varying terms used by people discussing this topic, this system would involve a range of different constraints filtering information into a single space where they can be screened. Screening is essential to filter out spam and/or inappropriate content. Successful data will then be formatted to appear within the consistently updated generative system. The design is inspired by the sentiments of dream catchers, which traditionally filter dreams to get rid of negativity.
An additional aspect to the design may be a map that marks where members of ‘Generation Y’ have successfully attained ownership of a free-standing home. This would involve collecting age data from property sales and setting up a system that allows for the information to update regularly.
I propose two environments in which this design response may operate. The first is as a website, which ‘Generation Y’ are directed towards via social media and real estate sites. This platform is accessible by individuals in a mobile context—whether at home, on the train to work or wherever else they may be. The second environment could be as an installation in an exhibition space or as a site-specific work in real-estate agencies.
The purpose of this design response is to spark conversation about housing affordability amongst ‘Generation Y’ in Australia. Depending on the nature of the content generated, financial and emotional insecurities may be fuelled or lessened. The response has the potential to encourage a sense of community and reassurance as it demonstrates how housing affordability affects a wide range of people in a local context.