It was immensely helpful to pitch my ideas to someone else. The broad ideas I presented to my tutorial partner were:
To undertake an archival study of foreign investment in Australia over time.
To draw parallels between current housing situations and the slum housing that existed in cities pre-1910.
To create a service that allows young Australians to share their voices to Australian politicians. Get the youth informed and involved.
Aspects of all these ideas evolved into my new idea: to use 1950s house and domestic ads as the art style of posters that critique how archaic our view of housing is, and how we are out of touch with the 2016 reality of the market. This new concept was really exciting because it drew together the ideas of contrasting housing today with housing in the past and would do so in a way that engaged the youth. I also love the art style of 1950-60s ads and feel they are ripe for parody because they hold such strong connotations to ideas of ‘perfect domestics lives’, ‘nuclear families’ and ‘the Australian/American dream’.
Times have changed
Information visualisation and a small interactive component
In 2016, the great Australian dream of owning a home, and raising a family in it, persists as one of our most championed expectations. In a 1950s-inspired spin on our collective national psyche, owning a home is the defining step in ‘settling down’ and is perceived as the final passage to adulthood for many young Australians. The issue is that this archaic vision of housing is just as dated as the concept of the perfect ‘nuclear family’ the world was sold in the 1950s. There’s an intergenerational fracture in our national identity. Homeowners still believe that if members of the younger generation work hard enough, they can own a homes, all the while denying that times have changed and ignoring how negative gearing and investor incentives are the major barriers to first home buyers. Furthermore, housing affordability is an issue with winners and losers; politicians have an interest in supporting homeowners, so without youth outrage there is no incentive for changes to affordability.
There’s a second-level to the issue; not only are younger generations having their voices go unheard, there’s a general disinterest or sense of powerlessness amongst the youth when it comes to housing. My challenge then is to mobilise the youth, to show them that housing unaffordability is a part of their lives and they need to share their voices now, not just when they go to buy their first home.
The possible change:
Get young people to start thinking about how housing unaffordability affects them now – not only when they go to buy their first home. I hope to use parody to point out the social consequences of the housing bubble: people live at home with their parents much longer. I also aim to use direct quotes from politicians and information visualisations to highlight how the market has changed over the years, but this is not being reflected in the views of our leaders, hence the lack of support for the youth.
The design action to support change:
A magazine aimed at young Australians. Using a combination of info-graphics, timelines and parody illustrations to question how we view home ownership in Australia, and, to highlight how the reality of buying a home has changed since the 1950s but the out-of-date expectation and dreams remain.
There is potential to extend the project into a media campaign by designing ephemeral youth are often in contact with. This would be public art such as posters placed around universities, bar coasters and stickers. It may also be extended into a digital format (likely a website) to boost its reach to a young audience.
Art style and illustrations:
I will be using a 1950-60s art style to highlight how drastically housing has changed and question how our politicians view housing. The youth voice goes unheard or is stifled, with out-of-date stereotypes being the basis of housing policy. This art style evokes ideas of the nuclear family and domestic ideals – by subverting the subject matter and localising references to Sydney these traditional ideals are re-explored.
Some ideas include illustrations of:
Ads for new homes that are undersized and overpriced.
Nuclear families struggling with the pressures of keeping a roof over their head.
Parallel images of families with young children and 35 year old children who still live at home.
Spreads will feature quotes from Joe Hockey, John Howard and Tony Abbott that show how their views on housing are skewed to those of wealthy homeowners. These comments are outrageous and frame how their views are out-of-date and out-of-touch with the reality of the pressures families are facing.
Within the magazine, an inlay page urges you to mail in your opinion! 18-25 year olds can write to their representatives in a medium that they’re comfortable with: fill in an ‘angry letter’ template and place it in the provided pre-paid envelope.
Show how many properties politicians own, and the value of their houses. Comment on the class divide and question whether people with so much invested in the current housing system should be speaking for the general populations.
Use a cost comparison: How long does someone on the average weekly earnings have to work to buy the average house? In 1960 the multiple was 4 years. Now it is 12 to 13 years.
The most recent detailed Australian Bureau of Statistics breakdowns on the subject showed 35 per cent of 20- to 24-year-olds and 7.8 per cent of 25- to 29-year-olds had never left home. In total, about 22 per cent of 20 to 34 year-olds had left home and returned at least once.