Post 10: THE Final Idea

Post 10: Reflection and Proposition
Christine Ye

Throughout my blog research, I’ve noticed that while the statistical facts regarding housing affordability have shown a rise in housing prices and cost of living that is jumping ahead of the rise in wages, there has still been vocalisation on the attitudes of Generation Y getting in the way of achieving their home ownership goals. Assumptions, stereotypes and discussions of the psychological and emotional aspects of housing affordability describe Generation Y as not willing to work hard to achieve long term goals, preferring to spend on short term luxuries and material goods. They tend to have high expectations of their first homes, which are significantly out of reach when looking at their relatively low level of income and savings.

Due to the difficulties of entering the housing market where they are placed at a default disadvantage compared to older generations and property investors, Generation Y feel a sense of helplessness towards the situation and hence have put the housing dream on a low priority, at the same time minimising confrontation towards an issue they feel like they have no control or say over. Intergenerational differences and misunderstandings resulting in judgement and ‘if you worked as hard as I did’ comments from older generations also don’t help boost confidence in young Australians, even though there has been a definite change in lifestyle and focus.

With this contextual focus in mind, I presented to my peers a few options that I felt could be possible design interventions:

  • A questionnaire that generates data on what Generation Y think of the housing situation, and how the situation makes them feel – an attempt to understand the emotional struggles of the younger generation in order to spread awareness of housing as not just a physical struggle, and possibly promote empathy in others.
  • A product budget calculator that generates how many of a specific luxury item in the Generation Y lifestyle would equate to the average home loan e.g. ‘if you drink coffee once a week instead of every single day you’d save x amount and over x years you’d be able to afford a home loan’ – this can serve to remind the younger generation that a home loan isn’t an impossible saving task, to better their saving habits and splurge less, and also to raise an awareness that while Generation Y lifestyle is different to previous generations, it shouldn’t be discriminated against.
  • A continuous data visualisation based on a questionnaire that asks how important home ownership is to Generation Y, and what things they would be willing to give up or not give up to save for a home – this aims to provide the younger generation with reassurance that their material-based lifestyle is okay and that there are plenty of others in that same boat, and also to redefine what a home means to the younger generation in terms of their lifestyle and promote acceptance of that different lifestyle.

On talking to peers, most people felt that the second and third concept were more developed, however they also mentioned that the third concept seemed resonate a lot more with what I focused on throughout majority of my blog posts which was empathy and understanding. The third concept also seemed to encompass elements of the first and second, and further discussion introduced a possible service design intervention through social media posting to generate more conversation and drive change in attitudes. Pitching the proposal draft to my peers gave me a bit more confidence and reassurance that I was on the right track, which is something I needed at this point.

Design Proposal

Project Title
‘What I’d Give Up’

Practice Type
The proposed design is a generative system with a small service design element.

The Issue
It is no secret that saving up and investing for a house is a small or easy task, however in 21st century Australia the housing market has been set up by previous generations of Baby Boomers and Generation X, along with foreign buyers, property investors and tax gearing policies to reveal a very disadvantaged starting point for young Australians to enter the housing market. It should also come as no surprise that as times have changed, so has the culture and lifestyle of Generation Y Australians which shows more short-term spending on material goods and lifestyle luxuries such as holidays. Studies have also shown that the younger generation of Australians consider notions of a house past the physical aspect; it was also a medium to enhance their identity and personality and hence expectations of what a house could fulfil were also higher. This lifestyle and higher expectations of a house, combined with the unfair nature of the housing market has resulted in a lack of motivation to even try and an unwillingness to seriously confront the situation, with social media postage only including posts of a first-world-problem nature.

However in the eyes of Baby Boomers and Generation X who have gotten over the initial home ownership hurdle and are current home owners, Generation Y has been stereotyped as lazy, whiny, expecting too much and judged as not willing, wanting or capable to work hard and save up for a long term goal. While this stereotype may have developed from a superficial understanding of the younger generation, studies have shown that the housing affordability situation can end up taking a toll on mental health; young Australians aren’t exempt from this possibility with added intergenerational judgement and misunderstanding not helping the situation physically or psychologically.

The Possible Change
The housing affordability situation has shown itself to involve so many stakeholders, from small stakeholders such as individual home owners or renters to larger stakeholders such as the government body. It would take a collaborative action between all major stakeholders to direct possible large scale change in terms of the housing market and affordability issue. However Australian individuals can provide mental and emotional empathy and understanding in order to support each other, instead of bestowing judgemental which ends up putting more pressure on the younger generation and causes a likelihood for them to completely close off and ignore the issue. The lifestyle of young Australians shouldn’t be something held against them because of intergenerational differences, it should be accepted as a different lifestyle instead of seen as an excuse. If young Australians were to open up about their individual struggles and their perspective on housing expressed through a valued part of their lifestyle, they would possibly be more inclined and encouraged to face the housing issue head on.

The Design Action to Support Change
This design proposal provides the younger generation of 18 – 24 year olds a platform to express what material goods or luxuries they value in their life and what they would give up or not in order to afford a house; this generative system will seek to redefine what a house means in the language of younger Australians for other younger Australians and the older generations. It will provide reassurance through the possible variety of individual responses, promote acceptance or empathy of this changing lifestyle and also generate a more honest level of social media conversation.

Data will be collected through a simple and quick online survey, and then added to generate a compilation of individual responses which can be seen by all people visiting the website. There will also be a social media option to post up what the individual has answered and to generate more talk and activity about housing from the eyes of the young Australians.


Post 9: Anyone Got Any Ideas?

Post 9: Visual documentation of the brainstorming session
Christine Ye

As a continuation of post 8 which talked about the process, possibilities and findings of the brainstorming exercise, this one discusses what I felt were the strengths and weaknesses of the exercise.

While the group brainstorming exercise was intended to generate five different problem statements and various possibilities for those statements, our group ended up creating an overarching problem statement on what we thought was the crux of the housing affordability issue based on the 5 W’s.

Our one comprehensive problem statement.

The Problem Statement: In 21st century Australia, Generation Y is experiencing difficulties when it comes to buying their first home. Sydney is one of the most expensive cities in the world and because of the high cost of living, paired with the younger generation’s low to medium starting income, this creates unfair opportunities for them in a housing market dominated by older, richer generations and property investors. The lack of collaborative government support in affordable housing, and a surplus of unsuitable property supply, resulting in a rapid disappearing model of the Australian Dream.

Strengths: Although we didn’t do the exercise as intended, the mapping component helped to paint a clearer picture on what we all felt were the main points to consider in the issue of housing affordability – it was a step that narrowed the issue down and helped put into perspective what we, as 18 to 24 year olds felt were crucial to address. As someone who has significant difficulty with putting words into sentences to accurately depict an idea, I felt that the problem statement we produced as a group is something that I wouldn’t have been able to do on my own. I’ve realised that the way something is worded can help to produce a much more rich, illustrative or emotive image in one’s mind which generates a more empathetic reaction from the audience.

Weaknesses: Even though we did so many weeks of research (which is quite a time consuming process), having to take insights from that research, identify possibilities and actually turn it into an opportunity for a design proposal was a huge strain on my brain. The brainstorming exercise would have been a great way to tune each other into thinking about the issue critically and specifically… had we actually done it the right way. At this point, I felt like there was an overall uncertainty between all my group members as to how we were to put on those specific thinking hats and whether we were on the right track or not so we ended up looking at the problem stating exercise in a very broad manner. This resulting in us mulling for the rest of the tutorial as to what proposals could come out of such a broad perspective, and unfortunately we left class with no answers. Possibly we just needed a nice long study break to break ourselves away from the subject for a little and come back with a fresh outlook on how to go about this crucial part of the subject.

Post 8: Pinpointing the Problem Statements

Post 8: Brainstorming possibilities for a design response
Christine Ye

Group Brainstorming Session

At this point in the subject, it was about time to start thinking of some design possibilities that could target the issue of housing affordability… a complex topic that has proven itself to be affected by so many factors, and at the same time is growing to affect so many Australians. While each of our blog posts brought out a new set of insights through the specific research tasks, it was still difficult to pick exactly where a design intervention could fit into the puzzle and hopefully also help a small portion of the issue. To get us moving along, we collaborated as a group to brainstorm some problem statements by answering 5 questions of the who, what, when, where and why of the issue.

Who does this issue affect?
The issue of housing affordability affect everyone, as housing is a necessity in life. However our main stakeholders are the younger and future generations of Australia, especially focusing on those from Generation Y who are currently looking for or planning to invest in their first homes with their low to middle level incomes.

What are the boundaries of the issue?
The boundaries of the issue include intergenerational differences, a lack of mutual understanding between parties, foreign buyers and property investors, the Australian economy, the government and the personal political agendas of those with the authority and power to make a difference. We discussed that the income gap and current housing market prices don’t give equal opportunities to young Australians, that there is a lack of collaborative organisation towards taking actions to solve the issue and in general the housing issue holds a low priority in the eyes of young Australians.

When does the issue occur?
This is an ongoing issue that occurs continuously, however is generally only noticed when individuals start to look for house buying opportunities and continues throughout the looking and buying process.

Where does the issue occur?
The issue mainly occurs around the more populated areas in Australia, such as the main cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Due to various factors such as employment, transport and locational convenience, people have identified the surrounding suburbs of the CBD (especially within the 20km radius according to my probe research) to be the most attractive in terms of liveability and hence comes with an expensive price tag. Those who cannot afford houses in these locations are forced to either buy further away at the expense of liveability factors or wait for an unlikely opportunity.

Why is the issue important?
As the housing affordability issue is continuously growing, it is important to take action so that the future generations of Australia will have a fair opportunity to own a house which also meets their housing expectations.

If the issue isn’t resolved it will only get worse, with young Australians having to live with their parents for a longer time and renting may become the norm for ‘home ownership’. Those who can afford houses in more attractive suburbs accumulate wealth in property that increases the gap between the rich and the poor, and at the same time pushing lower income groups further away from the city.

Group brainstorming map for possible problem statements.

Initial Problem Statement
In 21st century Australia, Generation Y is experiencing difficulties when it comes to buying their first home. Sydney is one of the most expensive cities in the world and because of the high cost of living, paired with the younger generation’s low to medium starting income, this creates unfair opportunities for them in a housing market dominated by older, richer generations and property investors. The lack of collaborative government support in affordable housing, and a surplus of unsuitable property supply, resulting in a rapid disappearing model of the Australian Dream.

While this exercise was meant to generate 5 individual problem statements and several design possibilities to those statements, due to some confusion, our group ended up generating one cohesive problem statement to describe the housing affordability situation. Although the statement helped to paint a vivid picture of the housing situation, we realised that the problem statement needed to be far more specific in order to help us generate a more plausible design opportunity – I later broke this down into 5 different possibilities.

5 Problem Statements (and Some Ideas)

1) The high cost of living in Sydney, coupled with a housing market that is dominated by the older, richer generations and property investors, creates unfair opportunities for the younger generation to buy or invest in their first homes.

2) The Australian Dream of home ownership is fleeting; the price to pay for a house in a location that fulfils the needs and expectations of Generation Y is generally way out of their reach, thus young Australians have just accepted how difficult it is to enter the housing market.

  • An questionnaire that generates the ‘ideal house’ for an individual and how much it costs, comparing to a generation of the houses that are possible options for the individual based on their current income level in x many years time.
  • What does Generation Y expect or want in their house? A calculator that shows how much it’d cost to renovate x into an existing house instead of how much it costs to buy a house with x. This idea tries to provide individuals with an option to reduce costs to live in a place they want.
  • A questionnaire that generates what Generation Y consider the Australian Dream, what they think of the housing situation and how the housing situation makes them feel.

3) Despite the housing affordability situation, housing sits itself as a low priority for majority of young Australians who would rather spend on other things. Where do they spend their money and why, also how does this affect them?

  • A visual comparison model of spending on necessity and wants between those who are home owners and those who are not; aiming to show individuals how the cost of owning a home can be adjusted into their income spending habits.
  • Calculating how many of _____ it takes to save up for a house. On a scale of 0 – 10, how important is _____ to you vs. how important a house is.
  • A questionnaire and visualisation to show what the younger generation feels about home ownership, what things they would be willing to give up and what they wouldn’t be able to give up for a house (this could link to the idea of what quantity they’d have to give up to save x amount of money) – an attempt to understand the lifestyle of young Australians.

4) Intergenerational differences and a lack of mutual understanding between generations has stereotyped Generation Y as being lazy and not willing to work hard to achieve the housing dream.

5) There is a lack of collaborative action and innovative housing solutions towards facing and solving the housing affordability issue.



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.



Post 6: #Researchishard

Post 6: Scraping the web for data
Christine Ye

Twitter Scraping

Albeit not being a Twitter user at all, my opinion of the social media platform is that it is an easy and convenient way for an individual to comment on things going on in the world, express thoughts, personal opinions and even go on a little rant #justbecause. The hashtag system allows people to search for specific topics of relevance, making it a great tool for researching exactly what the general consensus or different opinions of a particular topic are, which is what I tried to find out through my Twitter scrape (yay for freedom of speech on the internet). However, if you’re looking for the opinions of every day individuals in regards to a social issue like housing affordability, the search may turn out to be a lot harder than anticipated.

The Twitter Archiver add-on on Google Sheets was the first tool I used for web scraping, as it seemed like a quick and easy way to filter and collect tweets on the topic of housing affordability – it turned out to be the total opposite. The process of working out the ideal combination of words and hashtags for the search tool was a time consuming process and with my experience I either found 9,876,543,210 tweets by politicians, real estate organisations, online news accounts or individuals posting on behalf of organisations or I found 2 tweets which were irrelevant to the subjective individual opinions I wanted to find. Adding the locational filter of Sydney or Australia also didn’t do much to bring out the tweets I wanted to find on the housing situation within a local or national context, and adding in the filter #generationy also didn’t evoke any meaningful responses.

Using the Twitter Archiver tool on Google Sheets… gained minimal insight due to search rule difficulties.

My second plan of attack was to use the advanced search tool on Twitter itself, and after inputting the same combinations of search limitations as with the Twitter Archiver and receiving the same results I realised… they’re basically the same thing #twitternoob.

On searching hashtags such as ‘housingaffordability’ or ‘housingcrisis’, the results that were shown consisted mainly of politicians and real estate organisations; this was most likely because of the more technical terminology used to limit the search results, as your regular individual would use more colloquial, humorous or long-sentence hashtags in their posts such as #letmewinthelotterysoicanbuyahouse #ijustmadethathashtagup. As said long hashtags are too tricky to pinpoint and search for, I used more neutral terms such as just the combination of ‘house’ and ‘money’ in the word search section, also filtering the tweets to those near Sydney  – this yielded some interesting individual responses.

Some hinted at their ideal housing location/life situation:

Some considered the amount of money they’ve spent or are going to spend on other priorities:

Some talked hypothetical situations #pleaseletmewinthelottery:

Some talked about how hard it is to save for a house in another way:

And Mr C&D raised an important question:

It was interesting to see the tweet above having a relation to some of the articles I read during the first week of this subject, on the aspect of the housing affordability issue being caused by empty nesters refusing to downsize or move out of their homes close to the main cities and into more rural areas. The post puts into perspective the more emotional aspect of housing in terms of experiences, habits and time put into the home that can’t have a price tag put onto it; is there another way to make people more willing to move out of their long-term homes?

Five Point Summary

While the Twitter scrape wasn’t as comprehensive as I would have liked to be, it did turn out to be an interesting method of research.  To summarise five of the more significant findings of my experience, I found that:

  1. In trying to scrape a social media platform such as Twitter where users are a combination of both organisations and individuals, specific terminology may yield only results by organisations or individuals with a strong voice or opinion on the issue that represent organisations with particular motives.
  2. Due to the change and overuse in how a hashtag is commonly used nowadays, it deemed itself to be a hard way to limit Twitter searches if you’re looking for random individual opinions.
  3. For the above two points, using neutral terms that are more common in every day speech in the word search filter will yield more tweets by every day individuals.
  4. In terms of tweets by every day individuals, not many talked about the issue of housing affordability in a direct manner. If a sarcastic or humorous tone of voice was used, it expressed awareness of the issue by the individual however also a sense of helplessness for the situation.
  5. Empathy is a powerful way of giving reason to another individual or group’s actions or thought processes. I feel that because housing affordability isn’t seen to be a very personal social issue, people are quick to make assumptions and quick to point the finger at specific groups. If empathy is used, it could help to relieve the emotional burden or discomfort of some – this could be a good possibility for a design intervention.

Post 5: An Individual’s Perspective

Post 5: Approaches to design for change, design-led ethnography
Christine Ye


After reading online articles and academic papers by individuals heavily involved in or immersed in the issue of housing affordability, it was interesting to gain insight into someone else’s perspective, and especially someone who wasn’t born and raised in Australia. The questions I asked aimed to gauge her level of understanding on the topic along with her assumptions, observations, experiences and personal thoughts.

One surprising opinion I gained from the interviewee was that she thought it was actually quite easy to gain access to a bank loan in order to purchase your own home; this is something that isn’t common through reading articles, which generally pitch the housing situation to be quite dire and difficult to get into for the millennial generation. However one article which I read and analysed in blog post 1 seems to reflect the same idea, that it isn’t that hard to get your foot into the door of the housing market. Without even realising, the interviewee and her friends have a joint-ownership on their property in terms of pooling together funds, which makes owning a house much more affordable.

The transcript of the interview can be read below:

What are your impressions of the housing situation in Australia?
I’ve heard the term before but I don’t know much about it. What I hear is that there are too many people coming into Australia, and that we don’t have enough houses for them so the price of houses go up. Whenever there is a sale, things are sold out quickly.

What is your current housing situation?
Currently I live in an apartment in the city. It’s a three bedroom apartment that I’m renting from a friend, and I also share it with three other friends. We split rent.

Do you feel a strong need to become a home owner in the next five years?
I think in the end, within the next five years, I’ll have to find a house. I think it’s better to live in one, somewhere not too far from the city, but a nicer environment that is not so busy. I feel it’s more stable to buy a house rather than an apartment, and rather than paying rent each month.

Are there any expectations you have of your first house?
I’m still an international student and don’t know much about the situation in each suburb…but I’d want a location that is close to a supermarket, restaurants and shopping centres. Maybe like Parramatta. Definitely not Chatswood though because I heard it’s so much more expensive. Blacktown could be good too because most of my friends live there.

Do many of your friends own a house?
My friends tell me that it’s actually quite easy to purchase a house here, as long as you have a job and you just borrow a bit of money from the bank. But he told me that the debt won’t be payed off for thirty years, that aside, I understand it is quite easy but that’s maybe from an international perspective.

What suburbs do they buy into and why?
Most of my friends live in Glenfield, it’s quite far from the city but it’s cheap there. They all live together to pool funds. One of my friends are planning to buy a newly built house in Blacktown…I heard it’s not too safe of an area but they opened some really awesome luxury houses within a big park that used to be a golf course. However I think you need a car to buy that car, and that the cheaper price difference is due to the distance from the city. Most of my friends in Glenfield live quite far from the station so they end up having to buy a car. The bus station is far too so they don’t have much of a solution.

In terms of what you understand, are there any solutions that come to mind when it comes to housing affordability?
I don’t really know the main problems in housing affordability, but I think it’s maybe the government that doesn’t manage the housing so well. They should come up with a policy to limit the international buyers who don’t even live in the property, or maybe they can build more houses. The government makes it easy to invest.


The probe I constructed for my interviewee required her to ask different people she knew in the 18-25 age range a set of questions on their age, occupation, where they currently live, where they’d want to live and why, and how close these suburbs were to Sydney CBD. The aim of my probe was to gauge a general opinion on why they’d want to live in a particular area. The results are shown below:


A few general things I noted from the probe were that all participants would like to live within the 20km radius of Sydney CBD, but none of them wanted to live in the actual heart of the city for preference of a little more personal space. While nobody mentioned anything to do with how much the average property in the area would cost and if that was an issue, they prefer locations which are convenient in terms of travelling time and suburbs close to shopping districts which generally mean a higher average house price.

Just like with the interview, the probe itself provided insight into a group of people’s preferences which allowed me to make some general assumptions of the cohort. However in terms of where my interests lie, I feel like I should have included questions which evoke a more emotional response, possibly asking participants to rate their satisfaction of the suburb on a scale which can later be expressed in a more engaging visual way. As a probe, it was a quick and easy task for the interviewee to do, however the questions lacked depth and I didn’t gain any extremely surprising responses.

Five Point Summary

  1. Majority of people interviewed in the probe wanted to live within a 20km radius of the city.
  2. Convenience in terms of transport times and vicinity to essential services such as supermarkets was a big factor in choosing where people wanted to live.
  3. Even though my interviewee wasn’t highly knowledgeable on the topic of housing affordability, she showed awareness of how to make it easier when it comes to lessening the financial burden of owning a house.
  4. In relation to my academic sources, possibly the above point does raise a deeply imbedded attitude issue in Generation Y.
  5. When it comes to probes in the future, think up more provoking questions that will allow me to gauge a deeper understanding of how people feel.

Post 3: A Visual Experience

Post 3: Mapping the participants (human and non-human) and constructing an image archive
Christine Ye

Initial Stakeholder Maps

If I were to have mapped out the participants and stakeholders within the issue of housing affordability before the start of semester, my maps would’ve probably revolved around ‘investors’ and ‘foreign buyers’ and how they are snatching up all of our homes, a notion that the media has been pushing since the sudden increase in Chinese real estate buyers in 2015. However, even with just three weeks of secondary research on the topic, the maps that I’ve produced have started to show how complex the issue is, and all of the human and non-human factors that are affect and are affected by housing affordability. The great thing about mapping is that you can visually see the links between major stakeholders and how they may interact with each other.



While drawing on my knowledge of the topic so far, I feel that there’s a significant tension between the expectations of a house in terms of role fulfilment and locational convenience vs. how much one is willing to pay for it (or how unaffordable it might be). This is definitely something that I’ll be keeping in the corner of my mind during future exploration.

10 Images

Figure 1

Money spent or money spilt over unideal housing? (Figure 1: Untitled n.d.)

My first thought when I saw this picture was, ‘is this picture upside down or…?’ but then I noticed that the 800,000 coin was written the right way round – is it a coincidence that the artist has written the highest amount of coin the right way?

Visually the picture depicts money falling down from the fancy accommodation buildings, with this sort of notion generally depicting that you are losing money from investing into housing. However I interpret this illustration as showing how difficult it is to firstly find appropriate housing, due to the over-decorative depictions of buildings that accommodate hundreds of people and affect personal privacy, and then secondly how difficult it is to then put money into housing, with people having to go against ‘gravity’ to make things work. As always, art is subjective, however even after looking at the three elements of money, fancy apartment accommodation and the ‘for sale’ sign, it is logical to see that this image portrays the housing affordability issue.

Figure 2

A comparison of the intergenerational housing situations. (Ditchburn 2007)

I feel that this image really sums up the perspective of those in the Generation Y bracket, along with the condition of the current housing market and the issues that Generation Y face when it comes to their first home investment. While the differing sizes and conditions of the houses make the meaning of the image very straightforward in terms of the housing situations of each generation, it also expresses the amount of money that each generation has built up over time. And when it comes to Generation Y and Generation X competing with those from the Baby Boomer generation during an auction for property, it is clear who will likely win.

This opinion is not something that is marginal, as several articles that I’ve read have pointed to the difficulties that Generation Y face when it comes to buying their first property. However, I feel it’s important to note that despite the difficulties of entering the housing market on their lower starting incomes, Generation Y does have the option of borrowing from their parents or grandparents who do have those deeper pockets.

Figure 3

Urban sprawl into rural areas, is this a helpful solution? (Richardson n.d.)

Three people are watching the land in the surrounding neighbourhood being prepared for urban growth; from the size of the land that they’re working on, it doesn’t look like the location is anywhere near the main city which, from reading articles, is where people want to live closer to. This raises the question of whether or not this sort of urban sprawl is going to be one of the more successful ways to help the issue of housing affordability, when people are reluctant to move out from their homes that are closer to the major cities and hence more convenient, despite the higher price tag.

Figure 4

High rise apartments, the easy way to fit people into a small space of land. (Wei n.d.)

When I think of urban density and accommodating for the growing population, I think of high rise apartments as a way of compacting a large number of people into a small land space. The cold tone of this photograph, along with the tightly packed windows and so many curtains closed, express this mode of living as having little to no privacy, individuality and it lacks the warm feeling of a home that most people would seek.

From the first article that I read and analysed in my second blog post, the authors Bruce and Kelly (2013) recognise that for Generation Y, a house is an important medium for expressing individuality and also needs to perform on more than just a physical level. With this in mind, it is skeptical whether first home owners from Generation Y would be willing to invest in an apartment like in this photo, and if the apartments are located within or close to the city, the financial aspect would also deem itself an issue.

Figure 5

Property Owners Braced For Interest Rate Hike
Monopoly vs. the real housing world. (Furlong n.d.)

How easy would it be if everyone was just handed out an equal amount of cash at the beginning of their house buying journey and, after a roll of the dice and your more than sufficient wallet, it was just a decision of investing or not? I’ve always chosen to buy and invest when it came to playing Monopoly, and in turn I received hefty sums from people stopping on my properties. It was when I thought about it this way, I realised that this is exactly what property investors are doing. They don’t care whether or not the newly graduated 25 year old is able to purchase a house or not, it’s all about the personal financial benefits that come from property investment.

While Monopoly gives everyone a reasonably equal opportunity and an even wallet at the beginning of the game, in reality the property market doesn’t provide equal opportunities and those who have already a few properties under their name or those who have been working for over a decade have a much higher chance than the Generation Y individual who just wants to move out of their parent’s home.

Figure 6

A Surry Hills auction won by a Chinese phone bidder for $965,000. (Figure 6: Surry Hills Auction n.d.)

According to the caption of the image, this auction in Surry Hills was won by a Chinese phone bidder at the price of $965,000 which immediately leads me to assume that they are a foreign property investor and judge the buyer as someone who doesn’t even have the courtesy to show up physically to an auction, despite the several upsides of phone bidding (which prove it as not necessarily a bad thing). The first thing you see in this photo are the two Asian people in the foreground, both holding phones and seemingly communicating with the bidder; the photograph depicts them in a way that makes them look dominating, aggressive in bidding and also in control.

Just from my judging alone, it is easy to see how and why the media would portray Chinese investors in such a negative and selfish light, however it is important to keep in mind that no matter what nationality, the older generations will always be more advantaged than the younger ones in this situation.

Figure 7

A graph showing the percentage of home owners with a mortgage debt from 1982 to 2011. (Figure 7: Percentage of Home Owners with a Mortgage Debt n.d.)

This graph shows the percentage of home owners with a mortgage debt, based on statistics from the ABS Surveys of Income and Housing. As a statistical image, it is clear that there has been a rising percentage in mortgage debt throughout every age range, which proves the point that even though wages have increased throughout the years, it hasn’t kept up to the rate that housing or the cost of living has increased.

While the issue of housing affordability is something that can have an emotional and mental impact which makes it easy to judge and make assumptions, it is important to know the statistical facts and understand them for what they are as many arguments can be disproved through unbiased data analysis.

Figure 8

When will the Australian housing bubble pop? (Figure 8: The Australian Housing Bubble n.d.)

A metaphorical photograph that expresses the dream of owning a beautiful house as something that floats away and pops as easily as a bubble, along with leaving us wondering when the Australian housing bubble will pop. The message in this image is straightforward, that there is the issue of housing affordability and it is becoming unreachable; this is something that almost all of the articles I’ve read are sure about.

Figure 9

A visual representation of the unattainable housing dream. (Figure 9: The Unattainable Housing Dream n.d.)

Just like the image above, this illustration depicts the unattainable dream of owning a house through the obviously large gap between the ladder and the house, and then the difficulties of even getting to the top of the ladder with little support. This immediately makes me think of the lack of support that the government gives to support first home buyers in comparison to those more experienced in the housing market or those with deeper pockets.

Figure 10

Housing as not just a physical need, but a mental and emotional one. (Figure 10: Housing, a Mental Health Issue 2016)

The reason why I chose this last image is that it represents a message that I feel is underestimated; that not being able to afford a house isn’t just an issue on a physical level, but it also affects an individual’s emotional, mental and psychological state. From the articles I’ve read, some individuals have tried to get themselves to accept the fact that they will possibly never be able to afford their own house within their lifetime, and this is something that is mentally degrading and unmotivating, it’s something that people shouldn’t have to accept.


While this was meant to be quite an analytical and objective research task, I couldn’t help but find myself constantly seeing the more emotionally impacting side of housing affordability. I was quick to judge and make assumptions, especially in regards to investors, intergenerational differences and the difficulties of attaining the housing dream – it might be that these topics have been blown out of proportion (by the media) or there is just a general lack of awareness.


Bruce, M. & Kelly, S. 2013, ‘Expectations, Identity and Affordability: The Housing Dreams of Australia’s Generation Y’, Housing, Theory and Society, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 416-432.

Ditchburn, J. 2007, Figure 2: Housing Affordability, The Property Shop, viewed 27 August 2016, <>.

Figure 1: Untitled n.d., Jonathan Sri, viewed 27 August 2016, <>.

Figure 6: Surry Hills Auction n.d.,, viewed 27 August 2016, <>.

Figure 7: Percentage of Home Owners with a Mortgage Debt n.d., The Conversation, viewed 27 August 2016, <>.

Figure 8: The Australian Housing Bubble n.d., Financial Sense, viewed 28 August 2016, <>.

Figure 9: The Unattainable Housing Dream n.d., Post-Gazette, viewed 26 August 2016, <>.

Figure 10: Housing, a Mental Health Issue 2016, Red Pepper, viewed 27 August 2016, <>.

Furlong, C. n.d., Figure 5: Monopoly, Business Insider, viewed 28 August 2016, <>.

Richardson, C. n.d., Figure 3: The Growing Urban Boundary, The Advertiser, viewed 26 August 2016, <>.

Wei, E. n.d., Figure 4: East Asian High-Rise Apartments, The Conversation, viewed 27 August 2016, <>.

Post 4: 3716 Springfield, Kansas

Post 4: Identifying and collecting a design example
Christine Ye

Studio 804, Inc. is a non-for-profit corporation made up of graduate Architecture, Design and Planning students from the University of Kansas, who are given the opportunity to experience the whole process of designing and constructing a building from the absolute beginning to finish. They focus on researching and designing innovative solutions to issues of housing and environmental sustainability, affordability and energy efficiency, while at the same time ensuring their designs fit in with the urban spaces and allow residents to live a comfortable lifestyle (Architizer n.d.). Their project, 3716 Springfield in Kansas, demonstrates an emergent practice through focusing on the groundwork of sustainable yet stylish architecture.

3716 Springfield, designed by Studio 804, Inc. (3716 Springfield: Exterior n.d.)

3716 Springfield was the first platinum LEED house built by Studio 804, Inc., with the aim of addressing the dilemmas of affordable and environmental sustainability, ‘for home-owners seeking “off-the-grid” living in terms of non-renewable energy, while benefiting from the revitalised amenities that compromise the metropolitan urban core’ (Studio 804, Inc. n.d. para. 2). Not only is the designed residence an environmentally sustainable, functional and visually appealing living abode, it also provides tours to those interested in learning about sustainable architecture.

‘This house is a combination of passive strategies and active systems which visually call out the environmental standards to which the design aspires.’ (Archdaily 2011, para. 1)

springfield - sheet - 9 - long section-elevation-section
3716 Springfield, designed by Studio 804, Inc. (3716 Springfield: Long Section and Elevation Section n.d.)

It is no doubt that a lot of critical thinking has been put into designing and building this residence to make it as modern, comfortable and environmentally sustainable as it could be. Built in the year 2009, at a size of 1000 to 3000 square feet and with a budget of $100,000 to $500,000, Yunghans (2009, para. 2) describes it as managing to ‘integrate features like photovoltaics, a wind turbine, a geothermal heat pump, and radiant floor heat into a minimalist architectural language’. It features four bedrooms with two-and-a-half bathrooms, with an extremely generous master bedroom containing a private two sink bathroom and a walk out balcony. The ground floor has a gallery style kitchen that connects to the dining and living room spaces, and the designers have also added a single car garage and a loft space which can be used however the residents please (Architecture News Plus n.d.).

The living room space styled with minimal furniture. (3716 Springfield: Living Room n.d)
The gallery-style kitchen, a perfect place to cook and socialise. (3716 Springfield: Kitchen n.d.)
A generous two sink bathroom to match the generous master bedroom. (3716 Springfield: Kitchen n.d.)

To ensure the residents are comfortable within the abode, 3716 Springfield has a combination of a concrete thermal mass and a specialised radiant floor system to lower daily temperature fluctuation, with concrete chosen for its ability to absorb winter sunlight. A geothermal heat pump also helps to maintain ‘a comfortable interior air temperature by utilising the stable temperature of the earth’ (Architecture News Plus n.d., para. 7). Windows, sitting close to the ground, allow natural ventilation upwards towards the top of the house, and the louvered shading system allows just the right amount of sunlight to stream into the residence during the day.

A spacious and flexible set up with natural sunlight during the day. (3716 Springfield: Upstairs n.d.)

In terms of environmental and sustainable features, starting from the land that the residence sits on, the site was planted with durable and drought resistant fescue grass, the intention of it being an easy care replacement for conventional turf, with the south side of the landscape being intentionally left open to ‘encourage the residences to plant a garden’ (Architizer n.d., para. 2). The house has a broad south exposure to ensure the passive solar panels can gain maximum energy throughout the day, along with a wind turbine to back it up; however the residence can also tap into the public utility system when self-generated energy isn’t adequate. Water supply is collected through the pervious materials surrounding the exterior of the house, allowing rainwater to flow into the water table, with low flow valve fixtures running throughout the house to save water and lower reliance on public water sources (Architizer n.d.). A large portion of the design is pre-made in a warehouse studio which allows for their precise standards and features (Yunghans 2009).

Sustainable, yet expensive, photovoltaics. (3716 Springfield: Photovoltaics n.d.)

Despite the successful integration of sustainable technologies into an aesthetic housing package, according to Apartment Therapy’s survey, the biggest challenge for the residence is selling it, along with the biggest lesson learnt being that sustainable features are too expensive, even though one of Studio 804, Inc. aims is to build affordable, contemporary housing (Yunghans 2009, para. 5). This is something that needs to be addressed if one is to build such a sustainable house as not everyone is able to splurge in technology such as photovoltaics; even though these technologies are expensive, living in a sustainable way shouldn’t have to come at a financial expense.


3716 Springfield: Bathroom n.d., Architizer, viewed 20 March 2016, <>.

3716 Springfield: Exterior n.d., Architizer, viewed 20 March 2016, <>.

3716 Springfield: Kitchen n.d., Architizer, viewed 20 March 2016, <>.

3716 Springfield: Living Room n.d., Architizer, viewed 20 March 2016, <>.

3716 Springfield: Long Section and Elevation Section n.d., Studio 804, Inc., viewed 20 March 2016, <>.

3716 Springfield: Photovoltaics n.d., Architizer, viewed 20 March 2016, <>.

3716 Springfield: Upstairs n.d., Architizer, viewed 20 March 2016, <>.

Archdaily 2011, Sustainable Residence / Studio 804, viewed 21 August 2016, <>.

Architecture News Plus n.d., 3716 Springfield – A Sustainable Residence, viewed 20 August 2016, <>.

Architizer n.d., 3716 Springfield, New York, viewed 20 August 2016, <>.

Architizer n.d., Studio 804, Inc., New York, viewed 20 August 2016, <>.

Studio 804, Inc. n.d., 2009: 3716 Springfield, Kansas, viewed 20 August 2016, <>.

Yunghans, B. 2009, Studio 804’s Off-the-Grid Modern, Apartment Therapy, New York, viewed August 21 2016, <>.

Post 2: The Social and Mental Aspects of Housing Affordability

Post 2: Building your expertise using scholarly secondary sources
Christine Ye

As mentioned at the end of my first blog post, my interests lie in the more intangible aspects of the housing affordability issue; the emotional effects and toll of not being able to purchase your home, the social issues that one may face in regards to the issue and the expectations and attitudes of different generations and professionals within the field. The two research papers I have found explore the expectations of Generation Y, and the relationship between housing affordability and mental health.

1) Expectations, Identity and Affordability: The Housing Dreams of Australia’s Generation Y

‘It is found that Generation Y has expectations regarding the quality of their first home that significantly exceeds their earning capacity…Nevertheless Generation Y retains a strong belief that they can ultimately get what they want and are willing to wait.’ (Bruce & Kelly 2013)

The rising prices of Australian homes are making the Australian Dream of owning a house harder to achieve by many, especially young Australians. But some argue that rather than placing the spotlight on the actual housing situation, they believe it is more of an attitude issue within Generation Y where expectations of their dream first home, coupled with their comparatively low income levels, are the factors that are postponing home ownership. Thus, in this research paper, Melanie Bruce and Stephen Kelly have aimed to ‘understand Australian Generation Y’s attitudes and expectations regarding housing and the potential impact of these attitudes and expectations on perceived housing affordability’ (2013).  In order to more accurately judge subjective attitudes and expectations, the theoretical frame of perceived risk was used as it includes aspects in relation to:

  • Financial risk where the product cannot attain the maximum monetary gain for the consumer;
  • Functional risk where the product will not work as expected or intended;
  • Physical risk that the consumer may hurt themselves or others while using the product;
  • Psychological risk that the wrong decision may have a negative impact on the consumer’s ego;
  • Social risk that by choosing the product, the consumer’s status will change among their friends;
  • Time risk that if the product doesn’t perform as expected for a consumer, they have lost or wasted that time searching for the product.

The authors Bruce and Kelly both come from an academic background with Bruce’s PhD focusing on the topic of the consumer making process and residential property, and Kelly having written several articles on the issues of housing affordability, business and social sciences. They take an objective position in the article, acknowledging a variety of academic sources that contain different perspectives and relevant arguments to shape their own paper. I would say that due to the co-authorship of this paper, the high level of educational involvement of the two, the contents of this paper are well researched, comprehensive and trustworthy.

Key conclusions to their research:

  • A house is seen as a medium to express and create individual identity;
  • Generation Y has high expectations of their first home due to the emphasis placed on the home’s ability to enhance their identity;
  • It is the high expectations of Generation Y that is impacting on their views of housing affordability

A main takeaway point for future applications of this paper is the suggestion that it may come in handy for investors, to purchase housing that fulfils the need and expectations of the younger generation who are willing to wait longer to purchase their ideal first home. The research findings could also provide insights to develop policies within the housing affordability topic.

2) Housing affordability and mental health: Does the relationship differ for renters and home purchasers?

As individuals who come from an academic social science background, and as constant publishers of articles in relation to mental health and lifestyle, Mason et al. have identified a lack of writing on the topic of affordable housing and mental health. In this particular article, the authors investigated and analysed ten consecutive years of data from the Longitudinal Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey to identify whether there is a differing relationship between mental health and unaffordable housing when it comes to home purchasers and renters. They believe that ‘tenure may be an important factor in determining how individuals experience and respond to housing affordability problems’ (Mason et al. 2013). It is something that needs to be further looked into, and that only when there is strong research to back up these arguments will people be willing to change policies for the better.

Outcomes of the HILDA survey were measured in the form of Short Form 36 (SF-36), which is widely used in relation to health status to detect change in individuals over time, with a numeric value ranging from 0-100, with 100 being the more satisfied or happy side of the spectrum. Results of their research showed that, with the combined data samples of those living in both affordable housing situations and those living in unaffordable housing situations, the average score of home purchasers was always higher than the score for private renters. However when samples were adjusted to only include those in unaffordable situations, private renters experienced poorer mental health whereas home purchasers experienced little difference. Because of these findings, future policy responses to the issue of housing affordability cannot overlook that tenure is an important factor, along with what the authors believe as a potential intervention point.

‘These findings of tenure difference highlight an avenue of research that needs additional exploration, to determine whether policy responses should be tailored differently for renters and purchasers.’ (Mason et al. 2013)

Whilst Mason et al. (2013) have analysed a very robust data set for this paper, they acknowledge that there are a few limitations and opportunities for statistics to show more detail, for example include the effects of transport costs associated with housing location. I agree that there is definitely a lack of in-depth academic papers that address or explore the issue of mental health, however I also feel that the angle at which the authors are tackling the issue of housing affordability is a marginal one.


Bruce, M. & Kelly, S. 2013, ‘Expectations, Identity and Affordability: The Housing Dreams of Australia’s Generation Y’, Housing, Theory and Society, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 416-432.

Mason, K.E., Baker, E., Blakely, T. & Bentley, R.J. 2013, ‘Housing affordability and mental health: Does the relationship differ for renters and home purchasers?’, Social Science & Medicine, vol. 94, pp. 91-97.

Post 1: A Peek into the Issue of Housing Affordability

Post 1: Creating a data set using secondary sources
Christine Ye

1) The facts on Australian housing affordability

Written by Gavin Wood and Rachel Ong, this article talks about the rising cost of homes in Australia, a long-term issue that the authors believe have been ‘neglected for decades’ (Wood & Ong 2015), with focus on negative gearing and house distribution inefficiency as key reasons for why our housing affordability situation is where it is now. Wood, a professor at both RMIT University and Curtin University, along with Ong, who is affiliated with the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, are academic individuals funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute and Australian Research Council. Both are regular contributors on the housing affordability topic within The Conversation, and in this article they express concern that something needs to be done on a federal or state level. While Wood and Ong acknowledge that there are several factors to be considered regarding the rising prices and affordability issue, such as population growth and rising incomes, the main issue is the incentive that negative gearing and tax exemptions offer to investors, resulting in an inefficient distribution of housing that bends to the favour of investors rather than home buyers.

Analysis and opinions throughout the article are backed up by research and official statistics papers, such as the ABS Survey of Income and Housing report, with tables and graphs to support. This isn’t the first time that the negative gearing policy has been scrutinised by social media, journalists and reporters; those who disagree with the policy either feel the disadvantage or can see the statistic evidence to prove that it is fuelling the housing affordability issue, just as Wood and Ong have.

2) Q&A: How can housing be made more affordable?

This article starts off by making reference to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which shows that 21% of home owners spend more than 30% of their gross income on housing. However a point that hasn’t been considered as much is that wages have also risen significantly, which raises the question:

‘Has what we consider an affordable house price changed?’ (Cahill 2016)

Danielle Cahill, a journalist with over ten years of experience under her belt on the topic of Australian housing, recounts and shares the opinions of property investor Simon Pressley, who ultimately believes that it is a change in the attitude of the younger generation which is preventing them from working as hard as they could for their first house purchase. According to Pressley, there are much more suitable loans for first home buyers compared to those available for previous generations, and that there are several available options such as ‘rentvesting’, tapping into personal funds and joint ownership that can allow someone to get their foot into the door of the housing market.

While Cahill herself writes for the well known website, she isn’t completely focused on the issue of housing affordability which gives her less credibility for this article, however Pressley is to be considered a professional within the field as a property investor. That being said, compared to other articles I’ve read, Pressley’s opinion that the new policy of limited negative gearing is a “poorly thought out” (Cahill 2016) idea contrasts with most others who see it creating a better opportunity for actual home buyers. As a personal opinion, because Pressley is an adept and successful property investor, he doesn’t see the hardships that a young individual wishing to purchase their first home would. And along the same lines, the older generations don’t seem to see that while times have changed, the statistics show it is indeed becoming increasingly hard for those aspiring to purchase their first home.

3) You Can’t Buy A House And It’s Not Your Fault: Jan Fran explains

Jeannette Francis, an SBS journalist who has worked in all news and current affairs departments, presents the issue of housing affordability in particular regards to Generation Y: are we honestly just lazy, entitled and whiny, or is housing affordability really that big of an issue? This question is tackled through interviewing several real estate agents throughout the television broadcast, along with Francis’s factual statements backed by researched statistics, and coming to the conclusion that Generation Y aren’t complaining for no reason.

A strong statistic that I’ve picked up from the episode that helps prove an aspect Generation Y’s struggle is that while housing prices and income have travelled and risen roughly at the same rate from 1970 to 1996, income has risen steadily by 27% in contrast to housing prices that have increased by 121%. On the same note Francis presents that:

‘Baby boomers bought their first houses when it was easier, and now they want to buy our [Generation Y’s] first homes’ (You Can’t Buy A House And It’s Not Your Fault: Jan Fran explains 2015)

Interestingly enough, not many articles have taken on these opinions; many have argued that income has risen proportionately to match the rising prices of Australian houses, and that buying the first property was just as hard for Baby Boomers as it would be now for Generation Y.

While a lot of the content is humorous and sarcastic in nature, with Francis acting the part of a Generation Y individual along with the stereotypical first-world-problem attitude, through the body of the broadcast she tries to objectively gain the different sides of the story through the opinions and advice of the professionals, and has given me a more emotional understanding of the issue which I can relate to.

4) Gen Y frets over a looming bleak future

In this article, Jennifer Rayner presents the more emotional side to the issue of housing affordability through the eyes of Generation Y, and the intangible effects that it may bring. As an author who focuses on the issues and inequalities that the younger generation face, along with being an adviser to the Australian Labor Party, even though Rayner doesn’t seem to have written anything on the topic of housing affordability before, her interests lie close as the issue ties into the experience of Generation Y’s worsening opportunities within housing.

Despite the article being labelled as a commentary at the beginning, along with Rayner’s presentation of a subjective and emotional experience of her own housing affordability situation, her opinions are backed up by researched facts and statistics, a significant one being that the number of underemployed people has jumped from one in thirty in 1992, to one in five today. She believes that we need to fix this housing issue and give everyone an equal opportunity, as mental and emotional health are being compromised; this is something that I completely agree with as it should be in the best interest of Australia that everyone is presented with a fair opportunity. Strangely, this opinion isn’t very common as other authors have targeted particular bodies of people, such as social workers or low-income workers to focus on, instead of bringing attention back to something that should be as obvious as equal opportunities for everyone.

5) Home Truths

This television broadcast takes us on a journey through different perspectives and experiences in relation to the housing affordability issue in Australia, interviewing several bodies such as the professionals within the world field, politicians and young individuals being hit by the issue. Reporter Ben Knight is part of the Four Corners program by ABC, an investigative current affairs program that delves into the controversies and issues relevant to society. As housing affordability issues have reached a stage where it is gaining heavy media and journalist attention, Knight has covered facts and emotions in regards to the issue, to provide a wider audience with an educational window into housing affordability, to prove controversies or assumptions wrong, and to spur a change in people who watch.

As part of a well known and established organisation, Home Truths (2016) lends itself to being a trustworthy source even though the Four Corners series doesn’t solely focus on housing issues. The positions of those interviewed and mentioned in the broadcast show that housing affordability is complicated; it is a political issue in the case of negative gearing and building new houses, that it is a situation where the odds bend to the favour of investors, and also an emotional issue for those who are having their Australian Dream taken by those who have a different agenda. This thorough discussion is something that I think the episode has done successfully, and thus is well researched, factual but also expresses an emotional perspective.

Initial Opinions and Direction

Through the general reading of relevant articles and analysis on a handful, the issue of housing affordability through the perspective of Generation Y has really resonated with what I feel and what I believe is a very valid inequality. As someone who is more interested on the emotional and mental side of the issue rather than the political and statistical, the three positions I’d be inclined to investigate are:

  1. The attitudes of Generation Y vs. the attitudes of the Baby Boomers: how much of it is just the younger generation being too vocal about their disadvantages? How much of the Baby Boomer’s house market situation was luck? Why does there seem to be a defensive nature when it comes to how hard one has worked to purchase a house?
  2. Property investors vs. those who want to buy their first home: negative gearing is a generous incentive to boost the number of property investors, but what about those who just want to achieve the Australian Dream? What about the emotional aspects of owning your own home?
  3. Who is affecting the housing industry the most: is it the wealthy immigrants? The retiring Australians who won’t downsize and relocate? Who is the media blaming for this situation and why?


Cahill, D. 2016, ‘Q&A: How can housing be made more affordable?’,, 6 April, viewed 27 July 2016, <>.

Home Truths 2016, television program, Four Corners, ABC, Australia, 2 May.

Rayner, J. 2016, ‘Gen Y frets over a looming bleak future’, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 April, viewed 28 July 2016, <>.

Wood, G. & Ong, R. 2015, ‘The facts on Australian housing affordability’, The Conversation, 12 June, viewed 28 July 2016, <>.

You Can’t Buy A House And It’s Not Your Fault: Jan Fran explains 2015, television program, The Feed, SBS, Australia, 11 February.