POST 10: CB”Z”

Reflecting Upon My Info Vis Obsession (And why it doesn’t always apply)

In creating an initial proposal, I was a little too focused on the info visualisation aspects of the problem space – as opposed to what the proposition was meant to be – a design action to support change. Whilst my initial proposal had elements that were interesting, it didn’t really reach out to spark a debate, bring awareness or explore a niche of the issue of housing affordability. I essentially, in hindsight wanted to map the affordability of suburbs 15km from the CBD – and create a sort of print based “guide” or “pamphlet” that could be used by young people aged 18-24. Essentially categorising each element – distance – areas e.g. “inner west”, suburbs, configurations of properties – and creating a visual style and language to visualise the rental property prices of sydney’s housing market in this snapshot in time.

But whilst I am a fan of print based media –  I was reminded that our age bracket wouldn’t really use something like that or be inclined to pick it up in the first place – therefore the medium of an app would be a more age appropriate reach. And furthermore, this idea was simply a visualisation, nothing that would add value or differ from existing sites like “” or “”.

So stressing slightly that I had no idea to go off, I sub pitched a second idea that I had in the back of mind, but didn’t know how I would collate the data for. I wanted to map or create a service design that would highlight not only the most “affordable” suburbs in Sydney, but also the most “liveable” ones. During my probes, interview and general group discussions, people always mentioned that it wasn’t just about the pricing, or the configuration of the home. Everyone had these “dream” areas they wanted to live in, Mosman, Rhodes etc. Places that had a nice neighbourhood, was close to cafes, amenities. It wasn’t just about cost – it was about culture and lifestyle. But because of the housing affordability issue – these places were just out of reach dreams.


Therefore my proposition would be looking at capitalising on this idea of “culture and liveability”. Because the Sydney CBD is becoming so unaffordable – it was brought up in feed back that perhaps it would be a good idea to create a sort of service design that would make apparent the

  • Possibilities of other CBD’s and areas to live that could offer that “quality of life” young people are looking for
  • New hubs that can meet their cultural and social needs

There isn’t a lack of property to inhabit, buy or rent. Rather there is a lack of property that ticks all the boxes. So this service would attempt to explore and perhaps get people to examine beyond the boundaries of the CBD – into a debate that discusses the importance of liveability over availability. It could be an intervention to get people out of the city that we know and into other CBD areas that could be more affordable – and more importantly – more liveable. And a social intervention to get people to change the way they look at “housing” and the property market. For example it was brought up that Parramatta has been pushed to become the “new CBD” and that a lot of artistic ventures, government funding etc. could possibly turn it into “the next Surry Hills”. What are the new CBDs? These dark horses at the bottom of the typically perceived “cool” list – Is it time to look at these CB”z”s?

To summate 

Project Title: CB”Z” 

Practice Type: Service Design + (possibly a bit of info vis) 

Possible Change:  An intervention to look at remodelling the perceptions of affordability in the housing market to not just include monetary value – but also a quality of life – that so many young people are seeking. To open up the scope, get people out of this one city, and to reconsider the mindset that moving out or finding your own home is an impossibility because of the current economic climate. 

Design Action: To create a service that could approach the process of “moving out” and finding your own home. Perhaps a campaign that promotes the idea of “multiple cultural CBD’s” that exist in Sydney. Or something that would map aggregate data in a way that emphasises liveability. Possibly filtering this idea of a CBD’s cultural offerings in a comparative manner. 

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