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.

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Post 10: Reflection and Proposition

By Rebecca Tomas

During the lesson we were paired up with one of our peers to discuss our draft proposal. I pointed out that I wanted to focus on Generation Y and raising awareness of the issue of the housing crisis. As from my research, interview, probe and just discussing with others about the issue I came upon the realisation that many were uneducated on the topic. Sure, everyone knew it was expensive to live outside of home and many wanted to do just that – they still lacked awareness and knowledge of the issue at hand and really how serious this issue has become for younger generations and Gen Y.

At first when I delved into thinking of a few design propositions I was focusing in on coming up with an amazing solution to housing affordability which is next to impossible obviously. However, I knew I could focus on smaller sections of the issue and I knew I wanted to create a sense of awareness and to educate others in the 18-24 year old age bracket on how the housing crisis. Again from my research, probe, interview and conversing with others I came to the realisation that Generation Y is also known as “Generation Selfish”. Many would love to live outside of home- yet they would like to buy a new car and go travelling as well and some would find that more beneficial than owning a house. From research its been said that younger generations aren’t saving hard enough for a home as they are too busy spending their money on luxury living rather than cut their lifestyle- hence being called Generation Selfish. I can say that from my probe many would love to own a property however are still in the phase of wanting many high end materialistic items and wanting to travel around the world etc which are all pricey and do not add up to owning a house at the end of the day. My proposition was to one: Raise awareness of the issue to Generation Y especially 18-20 year olds who are in that mindset that they will own a house one day yet are currently all about the luxury lifestyle. From doing this I wanted to create perhaps a Generative design system + data visualisation that worked on electronic billboards/screens near stations and bus stops where many of the target audience would be near just before going out clubbing, going to school, uni and work – so it would be something they see. I wanted to compare the percentage of house prices and show how much they have risen by comparing that to food prices, the average price of alcohol, an average night clubbing in the city etc.

For example

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A rough mock-up I did of potentially what the billboard could look like comparing the inflation of house prices in suburbs to items and other “luxury” items that would relate and connect to an individual in the Gen Y bracket. 

By going ahead with this concept it not only raises awareness of the issue however according to my peer feedback it does so in a eye opening way and would really show how serious the issue is to individuals in the 18-24 age bracket. More feedback included that I was apart of Generation Y so it is something I would have experience and knowledge on and the way you look at the issue is from the perspective of someone who is part of generation Y and has been raised in this society where prices of everything have risen. My peer also suggested I do different suburbs and find something unique in those suburbs to use as data for my concept such as Darling Harbour = Clubs & restaurants so compare food and drink prices to housing prices… I know this proposition still needs a bit more fleshing out and is still a bit rough around the edges however I think the concept is there and I am excited to see where it goes!

Post 10: Reflection and Proposition

Reflection

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’.

 

Proposition

Project title:

Times have changed

Practice type:

Information visualisation and a small interactive component

The issue:

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:

Overview:

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.

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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.

Quotes:

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.

Service:

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.

Information visualisations:

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.

 

Easy Come, Easy Go

After many attempts to articulate my problem statement, it has become apparent that I am still struggling to communicate the problem that I intend to solve. During class, I was having a chat with my classmates, we were saying how there are so many problems that needs to be addressed within this issue. Since I was still very confused with the process of creating an emergent practice, I drew up a quick mind map to brainstorm possible solutions. Although, I was falling behind with understanding what we had to do, soon, I was able to grasp onto a series of ideas that I could possibly work on. I also met with my tutor approaching her about my concerns with this project. I feel like I gained more clarity as to what I was doing although I didn’t have a strong proposal to present to her.

Proposal

For my design intervention, I propose a data visualisation called “Easy Come, Easy G0” to demonstrate how young individuals spend their earnings. Young people today are more likely spend excessively and do not plan ahead (long term goals).

Due to the high cost of living in Sydney, young people are not prioritising their savings for a housing deposit. This raises questions like…

“Where does the rest of their income go?”

“Does it change their quality of life?”

“Does taking away from other living expenses (food, clothing and recreation) limits their quality of life?”

Generation Y is now struggling to buy or even own a home without even knowing it. Considering the state of the housing markets, it is more important than ever to be more money wise especially for would be homeowners. The problem is that the younger generations don’t care about housing affordability and don’t really talk about it.

I intend to create a series of A2 posters that shows possible future scenarios and the consequences of excessive spending and not prioritising their savings. Alternatively, also showing possible outcomes where that money could have been used.

Ideally, I would like my audience to questions their spendings and maybe even feel slightly ashamed. I want to create awareness for young adults, so they are more cautious on their needs and wants. I want these posters to be thought provoking and inspire more young adults to start thinking about small habit changes in their life.

 

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 “domain.com.au” or “real-estate.com.au”.

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.

THE BIG PROPOSITION

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. 

Blog 10: Reflection and Proposition

After a discussion with my partner regarding my initial design proposal, it was obvious that there were many unresolved areas/ areas that needed further consideration before it would be deemed a workable concept. Admittingly, my direction was still pretty vague as I wanted to create an online platform that would promote shared housing as an attractive housing solution for Gen Y, which would be economically and spatially viable for the future. However, the issue was that it lacked an unique differentiation from the already existing services out there, such as http://www.flatmates.com.au, which “allows people to list their spare rooms, find accommodation or team up with others to start a share house.”

Ideally, I was interested in suggesting different housing typologies as from the research I’ve conducted, the reality that traditional nuclear family homes are not necessarily considered the most suitable housing model for the growing demographics and dwelling types, hence the solution of shared housing – whether multigenerational housing, shared house ownership, seemed like an attractive avenue to explore, particularly as someone like myself was not previously aware of these housing models.

After further discussions with the tutor and my group members, and a revisit of my previous blog posts, I felt like there was potential to use the probe I conducted which inquired into the spending priorities of a sample individual from Gen Y, in relation to visualising the affordability of buying a home.

Practice Type: Service Design+Data Visualisation

The Issue: There is a general lack of awareness for Generation Y, in the sense that they are not constantly thinking about the housing affordability crisis because there is a feeling of hopelessness that discourages them to consider it as an achievable goal, or, it does not seem like an imminent reality that they should be concerned about in their current situation given the range that Generation Y spans (18-25 year olds) where the priorities of buying a house may differ in extent. However, in order to bring awareness and encourage them to take action, there needs to be some sense of relevance made towards their current situation, which will put into perspective their attainability of future home ownership.

The Possible change: “Ultimately, the only long-term solution to improve the home ownership prospects of young Australians is to change the imbalance between incomes and house prices” (Rowley 2016) Based off of this quote from an article “What’s the key to home ownership for Gen Y?”, it is important to show personal projections of each individual’s potential to afford home ownership, in terms of their own spending habits, as revealing insights into their monetary behaviour can in turn bring an awareness to what it means for them to afford a home in the future.

The Design Action: To promote the affordability of a house for Generation Y as a more achievable goal by providing a service that assists them in becoming more aware of what their spending goes towards, which would generate their weeks/months spending into visualisations. The highest category of their respective spending would then be used to project how much of those quantities would amount to their ideal house. The use of their spending data and transforming them into visualisations that would inform them of their potential to purchase their ideal home, would be a done in a way which would be enlightening, motivating and potentially humorous as their highest category of spending could be on something that the individual would not typically expect. For example, if the individual’s highest category of spending was dedicated to their Netflix subscriptions, it would then produce a visualisation that show how many Netflix subscriptions would allow them to purchase the home they want. The individual would also have the option to share these outcomes with their friends (via social media), which could be a way of generating more discussion around better income management and as such, making the affordability of housing a closer step to reality. The style of the service design could potentially be casual and conversational, as it is something I would want people from Gen Y to want to use, unlike many ‘budget apps’ out there which feel too serious and focused on entering monetary values.

 

🏠 P10

Reflection and proposition

By Clyde Overton

Originally discussing my problem statements in class as well as those in other classes, I found my proposed propositions lacklustre and not defined enough for a thorough proposition design. I found finding a proposition difficult due to the already established solutions that are more or less currently in place. From this I was able to build upon that and further find a problem within that. I originally intended to further explore the current urban density of Sydney, however I found that direction lacked a strong basis to work upon due to the broad information of urban density within Sydney. I began to resolve my proposition around renters and the current market. For my proposition about the renting sector, I am going to more or less explore why people chose to rent if they can actually purchase a property, and compare first home renters to first home buyers from both an area perspective. With the proposition additionally containing the comparison of first home renters to first home buyers, more or less compliments with the set 18-24 year old age bracket. Through my past research of housing affordability, I did a more or less general overview of the topic. Through my probe research, I was able to find the original basis of my proposition, therefore I was able to find a more defined area of research. The proposition will be a data visualisation of the research that I have done and the data translated into three insights.

After 7 or so weeks, 10 blog posts later, they are finally done. These blog posts have broaden my mind on the topic of housing affordability in a more thorough and researched format. This in turn has helped myself to gain a much more stronger insight in housing affordability in a stage where I myself am currently looking into.