Post 10: Reframing my Stance

A Pivotal Refinement

When discussing my draft proposition with my colleague, they pointed out that I didn’t have a focused problem statement. Whilst I had identified that I wanted to talk about Generation Y’s perceived inability to attain the Great Australian Dream of home ownership, this was still quite a broad intent. The impact, function and usefulness of my proposed design was not yet clearly articulated.

My colleague encouraged me to vocalise the parts of my research that had really stood out to me. This forced me to synthesise my research, interests and opinions, in the hopes that I might identify a more specific direction for my proposition. I found myself continually talking about how I was frustrated and angered that the ideals of the Great Australian Dream and the quintessential Australian lifestyle I had been brought up with, would be lost as a result of Sydney’s current housing affordability crisis. This was a pivotal exercise as it consolidated where I position myself on the issue. I realised that I firmly oppose major shifts away from the notion of the Great Australian Dream. For example, I do not support the rapid increase of high density living in Sydney’s suburban areas.

This urged me to reframe my proposition. Rather than talking generally about Generation Y’s experiences with attaining the Great Australian Dream, I decided to adopt a slightly more assertive and perhaps aggressive stance on the issue. I realised that the ideals that fuel the Great Australian Dream are something that I want to protect, preserve and celebrate. I want to encourage others who share similar sentiments, in particular members of Generation Y, to also voice their opinions because without conversation our Great Australian Dreams will surely dwindle.

#SaveTheBurbs—a generative design proposition.

The Issue:

‘…we’re not enabling our children to grow up in the areas we grew up in,” (Murphy 2016).

Increasing house prices has led to dwindling hopes for Generation Y Sydney-siders to achieve the Great Australian Dream of home ownership. The dream of owning a detached house on quarter-acre block—with a garden, hills hoist and barbecue, is not about greed or materialism. Home ownership is associated with freedom, family, hospitality and prosperity. The fear of Generation Y’s lack thereof, has the potential to heighten their financial and emotional insecurities. A lack of affordable housing in Sydney’s suburbs, means Generation Y, may have to move further afield to buy their first home or they may have to ditch the Great Australian Dream altogether and live in an alternate dwelling-type.

As Sydney moves towards solutions for it’s housing crisis, it seems that there is a push for more high density housing developments in it’s suburbs, such as apartment blocks or townhouses. This threatens to drastically change Australia’s quintessential suburban lifestyle. For example, high density living has seen Australians trading in backyards for balconies. In attempting to create cheaper, one-size-fits-all housing solutions, important facets of Australia’s national identity are at risk of being forgotten.

The Possible Change:

I want to remind Sydney-siders, in particular those living in the suburbs, of the values associated with the Great Australian Dream—values such as privacy, freedom, recreation, nurture, hospitality, safety, pride and comfort. Doing so highlights the need for these values to be upheld throughout future urban planning. I want to adopt a nostalgic approach to protest against sacrificing the Great Australian Dream in order to solve the housing crisis.

Design Action to Support Change:

Part 1: #SaveTheBurbs Archive

I want to invite suburban Sydney-siders who have experienced living the Great Australian Dream to share a photograph and caption that depicts what they cherish most about the home they grew up in and/or currently live in.

The design will operate on a website platform where users can upload their photographs, add a caption and fill out some basic information about the photographs history. The entries then contribute to a growing archive of anecdotes and images celebrating the values of the Great Australian Dream. The design is thus a generative storytelling archive. Users will be able to filter the archives by suburb, year and specific features and/or rooms. Users will also be able to share entries via social media, with #SaveTheBurbs and a link encouraging others to also get involved. The archive serves to preserve and stand as a testament to the significance of the Great Australian Dream. It also seeks to commemorate and document the dream, particularly in case it does disappear.

Part 2: #SaveTheBurbs Media Kit

Using the data generated by the archive, I intend to create social media content that will enlighten and motivate others to preserve the ideals behind the dream in order to keep it alive. I want to prompt more consideration of the impacts of high-rise residential developments in Sydney’s suburbs on the existing local communities. I also seek to create a publication that can be presented to local councils and the NSW Government that emphasises the importance of improving housing affordability to increase Generation Y’s ability to attain the Great Australian Dream. For example, I want to encourage them to improve policies concerning first home buyers to support young Australians buy their first home. There is also the potential to explore how the ideals behind the Great Australian Dream could be brought into the shifting housing landscape.

Murphy, D. 2016, ‘Crisis point for affordable housing’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13-14 August, p. 12.
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Post 9: Brainstorming as a collective

 

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Group Problem Statement

A high-quality PDF version is available here.

Identifying links

It was thoroughly satisfying to start noticing links between the groups’ answers to the who/what/where/when/why sections of the problem statement. Rather than merely jotting down anything that came to mind, this exercise urged us to be more critical of what we were selecting to include. A strength of the process is that it has really encouraged us to consider multiple facets of ‘Generation Y’s’ positioning within the issue of housing affordability. Additionally, the formulating of a problem statement has provided us with a cohesive understanding of the situation which will better inform our design responses.

Other peoples’ interests

A strength to the process is that by continuously coming together to brainstorm collectively, we are consistently reminding each other not to neglect the topic as whole. Over the past few weeks, we have all started to narrow our focuses based on our particular interests. In doing so, we risk forgetting to keep up to date with the topic as a whole and/or failure to consider peripheral aspects of the topic, that may be useful to our design response. As we all have different interests, our discussions enrich each others’ explorations of the topic by consistently pushing each other to think from different perspectives. Group sessions allow for other people to suggest possible directions or identify potential problems that I may not see by myself.

Laziness

A major weakness of the process was that as a group, we tended to generalise what we meant when writing our answers. I think this is because the group has reached a point where we feel like we are repeating ourselves and reiterating the same information that we have been mapping over the past few weeks. Rather than slowing down and feeling demotivated, I think we should treat these mapping opportunities as chances to reveal new insights into our topic.

Humour and energy

A strength of brainstorming collaboratively is that it helps people discuss the issue in a colloquial and stimulating manner. I find that this helps me relax and encourages me to come up with more unconventional and creative ideas. Sometimes when I am brainstorming by myself, my ideas can become quite convoluted and stray off the right path. Voicing my ideas to another person helps me determine whether it is practical based on their reaction. It also is a good opportunity to test drive an idea to gauge whether a suggestion is relevant, understandable and enticing.

 

 

Post 8: Brainstorming Possibilities

Individual Brainstorming

In order to flesh out a design proposition in response to the issue of housing affordability, I did some individual brainstorming. During this process, I considered all three emergent practices in order to stay open and flexible to the direction of my proposition. It was liberating working with pen and paper, jotting down anything and everything that came to mind.

brainstorm
Individual Brainstorm

Possible Design Responses

Following the initial individual brainstorming exercise, I identified the five most intriguing ideas that I wanted to further nut out.

A PDF is available here for better reading.

ideas
Refined Possibilities

Out of the five ideas discussed above, I felt most passionate about the Great Australian Dream Catcher direction. I am fascinated by the prospects of collecting poetic and qualitative data to explore an issue that affects me emotionally.

‘Great Australian Dream Catcher’—a draft proposal

This system seeks to expose the realities of whether ‘Generation Y’ are able to attain the ‘Great Australian Dream’ of home ownership. A web scraping tool filters concerns and discussions shared by ‘Generation Y’ on social media, regarding their success and/or failures of buying their first home. This could also involve a data visualisation that shows where members of ‘Generation Y’ are homeowners and/or a measurement of positive vs. negative comments. The emergent information collected is of a qualitative and poetic nature. It does not deal with facts or statistics in a traditional sense. Instead it elevates the importance of individual opinions and commentaries.

The information is filtered using a web-scraping tool such as a Twitter bot, that collects data (comments) from users within the 18-35-year-old bracket, on the issue of housing affordability. Due to the varying terms used by people discussing this topic, this system would involve a range of different constraints filtering information into a single space where they can be screened. Screening is essential to filter out spam and/or inappropriate content. Successful data will then be formatted to appear within the consistently updated generative system. The design is inspired by the sentiments of dream catchers, which traditionally filter dreams to get rid of negativity.

An additional aspect to the design may be a map that marks where members of ‘Generation Y’ have successfully attained ownership of a free-standing home. This would involve collecting age data from property sales and setting up a system that allows for the information to update regularly.

I propose two environments in which this design response may operate. The first is as a website, which ‘Generation Y’ are directed towards via social media and real estate sites. This platform is accessible by individuals in a mobile context—whether at home, on the train to work or wherever else they may be. The second environment could be as an installation in an exhibition space or as a site-specific work in real-estate agencies.

The purpose of this design response is to spark conversation about housing affordability amongst ‘Generation Y’ in Australia. Depending on the nature of the content generated, financial and emotional insecurities may be fuelled or lessened. The response has the potential to encourage a sense of community and reassurance as it demonstrates how housing affordability affects a wide range of people in a local context.

 

Possible solutions??

POST 8: BRAINSTORMING POSSIBILITIES FOR A DESIGN RESPONSE

BY CHRISTY HUI


Since there are many factors can contribute to affordable housing in Sydney, brainstorming these factors we can start looking at possible design solution.

During the brainstorming process, it gave me the opportunity to explore and find possible direction that I was to focus in my topic. Individually, we were given a set of question to answers that could help frame a problem statement. I found this task difficult as I was trying to narrow down into different factors that can play a part within this affordable housing crisis. I spent some time answering question for my problem statement, by taking a look at all the previous maps, I started to collate different factors that fall through the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and WHY questions. Taking these questions into consideration, the problem statement is to help us with our design solution that targets the age group of 18-25 years old.file-13-09-2016-10-46-54-pm

5 potential directions for design possibilities:

  • Sydney’s high cost of living paired with the low income of young Australians creates unfair opportunities for them in a housing market dominated by older, richer generations

Demand from locals, foreign investors and high income earners, are driving the prices of housing in an exponential level (cost of renting and buying) in the inner city area. This means urban sprawl, pushes many essential workers, first home buyer and young Australian out of the housing market.

  • If the majority of young Australians are not prioritizing saving for housing deposits, where does their income go? (and how does this affect their future?)

Due to the high cost of living in Sydney, young people are not prioritising their savings for a housing deposit but where do 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 the quality of life. If this is an ongoing issue, how long will it take for young Australians to afford a housing deposit.

  • The Australian Dream of owning a home is becoming more difficult for young Australians

Owning a house is the great Australian Dream, it is an aspiration shared by everyone, regardless of race, culture, religion, income level and  where you live. Owning a home is a culture that us built in, but it is becoming more and more out of reach, but the dream lives on.

  • There is a lack of collaborative action towards facing this issue / There is a lack of innovative housing solutions in Australia.

Innovative housing will provide stable and secure long term rental  services can break the cycle of homelessness. Innovative housing solutions means have high quality, energy efficient accommodation, and that the development can be built faster and cheaper than if traditional methods were used. Solutions for sustainable living, that is efficient and productive can meet the demands of urban development.

  • It is becoming more difficult to live in a suburb that you want to live in and does not require a long commute to work

Middle to low income level earners are being pushed away causing urban sprawl, away from public infrastructures and job opportunities. Essential workers and young workers are commuting long hours getting to and from work, and sacrificing between home and work.

Initial Problem Statement:

Sydney have  long term structural problem that has been neglected for decades. The trend in housing cost burdens is reflected in rising real house price. Housing should be a human right, it is an essential element in building a sustainable city. For a sustainable city to be more efficient and productive, urban development can meet the demands of a growing city.

Post 7: Collaborative Issue Mapping

Collaborative Stakeholder Maps

Below are three iterations of collaborative issue and stakeholder maps in chronological order, that address the issue of housing affordability. The first map that was created admittedly lacks clarity in its links between stakeholders and has quite a few generalisations and/or inaccuracies. It is rewarding to see how the maps become more precise and detailed with each iteration—our continued research into the issue leads to a deeper understanding of its stakeholders. With each iteration we become more specific by naming particular individuals and organisations as well as introducing non-human actors. Creating networks of stakeholders, both human and non-human, allows us to consider meaningful change on a broad scale. It urges us to consider how our design may have a flow-on effect that impacts an immediate but also a peripheral audience.

Working with peers allows for critical and insightful exploration. Despite researching the same topic, each person brings to the table a different focus and opinion on the issue. Additionally, through sharing our findings, we encourage each other to explore new avenues and/or consolidate existing research. Given that everyone is dedicated and invested in the issue, group discussions and mapping exercises are thoroughly energetic and productive.

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Collaborative Issue and Stakeholders Map #1
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Collaborative Issue and Stakeholders Map #2
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Collaborative Issue and Stakeholders Map #3

Polemic Issues Mapping

I also wanted to comment on the polemic issues map because that was a collaborative exercise pivotal to informing my approach to this project.

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Polemic issues map

Working collaboratively sets up an open and comfortable platform for people to discuss, challenge, agree, disagree, contemplate and speculate. In week 5, I worked with a partner to map out polemic topics and their associated emotions and stakeholders. This was an exhilarating exercise, as discussing the emotional aspects of controversial issues for various stakeholders, established powerful human connections to the matters at hand. Being able to freely exchange thoughts and opinions with my partner was very constructive as it helped uncover the multiple facets of each issue. I found it very insightful to consider emotions as non-human actors active within the issue. Peoples’ reactions, feelings and experiences about polemic issues were valid points of discussion and debate. Identifying problem areas where particular stakeholders are particularly struggling or affected by a polemic topic, highlighted potential areas for a design proposition to be situated and/or intervene.

tweet tweet

POST 6: Scraping the Web for data

BY CHRISTY HUI


#affordable housing

By web scraping the Internet for specific data, it helps with researching and insights others have put up on to a social media platform, for this case, Twitter. By downloading a Google Chrome Extension, Twitter Archiver, when a set of rule is created for this extension it helps search and collate content from Twitter.

I wanted to collect results based on housing affordability in Australia. By creating a set of rules on Twitter Archiver, the results I received was poor, with only 3 tweets. So then I decided to focus more on a topic I was more interested in which was affordable housing. I created a new Twitter search rule, where I included words that can potentially help me with my research and also hashtags that may help refine the search.

Twitter Search Rule: affordable housing, #affordablehousing, #housing and lang: English.

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 9.18.02 PM 1

Twitter Archiver accumulated 1038 tweets in the past week using the rule I created.

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It has collected a wide rage of interesting results and observations since Twitter is used by a community of people, who shared thoughts, information, data and ideas. Twitter allows users to post on Twitter about their personal stories or comments about ongoing social issues, celebrities or simply using it for networking as another form of social media.

I went through a few results by skimming through “Tweet Text”, from this I selected a few interesting articles that others have tweeted about the keywords I have input in to the search system.

From my observation, I realised that most of the tweets are on a based on a global scale. Most of the tweet are looking at the US, UK and Asia, this is because there is a larger density in population in these areas. Most of these tweets raises question about the issue with housing affordability, to bring awareness to those who are interested in knowing more about the housing crisis.

I found most of these tweet really interesting as they have different approaches to the issues, some are more informative and explores about the causes and effects. I also observed that most of these tweets are tweeted by different government organisation, business companies and design institutions. When using the Twitter Archiver I found a non-profit organisation called Next City, with a mission to inspire social, economic and environmental change in cities through journalism and events around the world.

Web scraping was useful, but it was very difficult to filter all the result to a desirable result. I wanted to look into affordable housing in Sydney, but when searched in the Twitter Archiver some of the result were unappealing. I decided to take a step further and gone into Twitter and searched “affordable housing Sydney“, instantly it presented me with more promising results without having to scroll through the Twitter Archiver.

Although I was able to look at this issue on a global scale, I wanted to focus more on affordable housing within Australia. I explored the idea of innovative living and affordable housing that can be implemented into our busy city. With the search from Twitter, it made it a lot more convenient to browse through content since I was able to understand each article based on the headline, most of these tweets seemed to be very biased and positioned in such negative connotation. It seems like people are just tweeting and blaming others rather than confronting the problem and finding solutions to solve these issues.

 

Post 3: Map and Image Archive

Participants and Stakeholders Map

This map shows shows the actors affected by the issue of housing affordability. I have indicated relationships and links between stakeholders (both human and non-human) with dotted lines forming an expansive web. I was surprised by how large the web grew to be as the exercise revealed a lot of peripheral actors.

Housing Affordability Participants and Stakeholders Susan Keighery

Participants and Stakeholders Map PDF

1: Sydney Rent Map

Sydney Rent Map
‘Sydney Rent Map’ by Flatmates.com.au (2015).

Flatmates.com.au is a Sydney based company that co-ordinates a safe and secure platform for people to list and find share accommodation. The ‘Sydney Rent Map’ by Flatmates.com.au (2015) uses the structure of the Sydney Trains rail map, to compare the average room prices of suburbs serviced by a train station. Given that cars are expensive to purchase and maintain, access to public transport is heavily linked to affordable housing. Sydney’s train network is a highly relevant structure to use given that it is the most efficient form of public transport for those commuting from Sydney’s fringes. This map is not a comprehensive representation of the average price of rooms in suburbs across all of Sydney. Although some are marked, most suburbs without a station are not represented. This leaves out regions such as the Northern Beaches, which are serviced by buses.

This image relates heavily to the ‘Drive till you qualify: an alternate view of housing affordability’ (Karuppannan, Kellett & Morrissey 2016) conference paper that I analysed as a scholarly resource. The paper challenges the common perception it is cheaper and more affordable for households on low incomes, to live further away from city centres in the outer suburbs. This paper used Adelaide as a case study to propose that this tactic was no longer valid in 2015. However, the data presented for share accommodation in the ‘Sydney Rental Map’, opposes the sentiments of the paper. The map shows that in 2015, suburbs further away from Sydney’s city centre are considerably cheaper than Sydney’s inner suburbs or suburbs in Sydney’s desirable coastal regions. For example, Minto in the far west has an average room price of $164, whereas Milson’s Point which overlooks the city harbour, has an average of $381 per room.

Flatmates.com.au 2015, Sydney Rent Map, viewed 29 August 2016, <https://info.flatmates.com.au/sydney-rent-map>.
Karuppannan, S., Kellett, J. & Morrissey, J. 2016, ‘Drive till you qualify: an alternative view of housing affordability’, State of Australian Cities National Conference (SOAC 7) (09 Dec 2015 – 11 Dec 2015 : Gold Coast, QLD), Gold Coast, viewed 8 August 2016, <https://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/handle/2440/98652>.

2: Up Again

Up Again
‘Up Again’ by Steve Greenberg (2013).

Steve Greenberg is an award-winning editorial cartoonist based in Southern California. His work has been printed in some of America’s most prolific news publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and the Washington Post (Greenberg n.d.).  The cartoon ‘Housing Prices Up’ by Greenberg (2013), was created in response to the American housing market which reached significant lows in 2012. It shows however that by 2013 the housing prices in America were on the rise once again.

The image deals with the issue of rising housing prices, which is not unique to America – it is evident in Australia as affirmed by the articles I have previously analysed. For example, the article ‘What’s the key to home ownership for Gen Y?’ (James, Ong & Riley 2016) discusses the impacts of increasing property prices and the resulting lack of affordable housing in Australia. The aforementioned is preventing many members of Generation Y from bursting the housing bubble and buying their first home.

I was drawn to this image because of it’s creative exploration of the idea of the ‘housing bubble’. Whilst many other cliché images depict a house literally inside a bubble, this image utilises a contemporary reference to the 2009 blockbuster film ‘Up’ to evoke a sense of the unattainable and the notion of something being out of reach. The wording ‘UP AGAIN’ suggests that despite any setbacks, increasing property prices is a repetitive reality. The use of a contemporary reference makes this image more relevant and memorable for a younger audience, in particular members of Generation Y who face the struggles of entering the property market.

Greenberg, S. 2013, Housing Prices Up, Cagle Cartoons, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://www.cagle.com/steve-greenberg/2013/02/housing-prices-up>.
Greenberg, S. n.d., About Steve Greenberg, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://www.greenberg-art.com/About_the_artist.html>.
James, A., Ong, R. & Rowley, S. 2016, ‘What’s the key to home ownership for Gen Y?’, The Conversation, 23 June, viewed 8 August 2016, <https://theconversation.com/whats-the-key-to-home-ownership-for-gen-y-60637>.

3: Housing Bubble

Capital Gain
‘Housing Bubble’ a cartoon by Daryl Cagle (2006).

Daryl Cagle is one of America’s most notable editorial cartoonists, having worked in the industry for over 35 years (Cagle n.d.) and contributing to over 800 newspapers globally (Cagle 2006). ‘Housing Bubble’ is a highly satirical cartoon which deals with the topic of capital gain. Capital gain refers to the profit gained when a property is sold. Long-term homeowners and property investors in particular are the typical beneficiaries of capital gain. For example, many members of the Baby Boomer generation who bought their houses in the latter part of last century, have seen their houses that they may have bought in the hundreds-of-thousands price range, soar in value into the millions price range today. Even with inflation many Baby Boomers have undoubtedly reaped in wealth through capital gain.

This image is fascinating as it mocks the concerns of those who have the upper hand in the housing market. Exaggeration is employed to portray the couple in the cartoon as cynical and small-minded. It is almost as though the newspaper headline ‘Housing Bubble’ emphasises the disparity between the wealthy and low to moderate income earners. It makes me uneasy to think that whilst some people are without a roof over their head, there are others who are trapped inside the housing bubble complaining about petty and less substantial things.

In saying the above, I understand that this cartoon is single-sided and is most likely commenting on small percentage of home owners and property investors. A modest and fair investigation into the mindsets of those seeking capital gain should therefore be sought before making a concrete judgement on their character.

Cagle, D. 2006, Housing Bubble, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://darylcagle.com/2006/10/08/housing-bubble-cmyk/>.
Cagle, D. n.d., About Daryl Cagle, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://darylcagle.com/bio/>.

4: Hills Hoist

Hills Hoist
A Hills Hoist advertisement in The Australian Women’s Weekly (1956).

This is an advertisement for the Hills Hoist that was featured in a 1956 issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly. The vintage aesthetic recalls a time of prosperity, a time before built-in-obsolescence – when things were built to last. For decades the Hills Hoist has been an icon associated with the ‘Great Australian Dream’ of house ownership. It has long been the aspirations of many Australians, to own a detached house with a sprawling lawn, a barbeque, a hills hoist, a spacious kitchen and garage for their family car. In the advertisement, the Hills Hoist is featured in an idyllic and quintessential Australian backyard. I grew up in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s and some of my earliest memories are swinging around the Hills Hoist in my backyard in the middle of summer (before being told off by my parents). This advertisement is a representation of Australia sixty years ago and things have changed dramatically since then. As time passes, the hills hoist along with the ‘Great Australian Dream’ may become a fragment of the past. After all, having a hills hoist implies that one has a backyard. Given the housing crisis and push for high density living, many Australians are moving into smaller housing often without a garden. Without enough space for a Hills Hoist, they will have to resort to using a dryer or clothes horse.

Interestingly, the ‘Housing Issues Paper’ released by the City of Sydney (2016) has responded to the dwindling dreams of home ownership by calling upon the government to implement policy that makes long-term renting viable for those “…locked out of buying property.” Additionally, the City of Sydney has recommended that, “…apartment schemes with fewer facilities, such as car parking, en suite bathrooms, gyms and swimming pools, in the interests of affordability.” What’s clear is that Australian’s are at risk of losing more than just the joys of having a lawn and a Hills Hoist.

City of Sydney 2015, Housing Issues Paper, City of Sydney, Sydney, viewed 14 August 2016, <http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/127369/affordable_rental_housing_strategy_amendments_FINAL_180510.pdf>.
The Australian Women’s Weekly 1956, Hills Hoist Ad, Pinterest, viewed 29 August 2016, <https://au.pinterest.com/pin/177821885260413924/>.

5: First Home Buyers

Happy couple holding for sale and sold signs
Happy first home buyers (Ray White Nowra c. 2015)

This image is supplied by Ray White Nowra on their website page ‘First Home Buyers Guide to Purchasing a Property’. It expresses the joy and relief that a young couple should look forward to, when they purchase their first home. This is an idyllic representation however and it does not address all the emotions and experiences throughout the lengthy process.

As Tanya Chapman (2015) writes on behalf of Ray White, “Owning your own home is the Great Australian Dream – however, it can also be a mystifying and confusing experience, involving many professionals and a seemingly arcane legal process.”

What this image fails to represent, is the financial stress and emotional insecurity that many first home buyers experience when trying to enter the property market at its current state. The increasing property prices and consequential lack of affordable housing has made the Great Australian Dream harder to attain for first home buyers, particularly 18-35 year olds (Generation Y). As expressed in the article ‘Crisis point for affordable housing’ (Murphy 2016), young Australians are finding it increasingly difficult to follow in their parents’ footsteps. Something as simple as wanting to buy a house in the suburb you grew up in, is not an easy reality for many.

Chapman, T. 2015, First Home Buyers Guide to Purchasing a Property, Ray White Nowra, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://raywhitenowra.com.au/news/first-home-buyers-guide-to-purchasing-a-property/>.
Murphy, D. 2016a, ‘Crisis point for affordable housing’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13-14 August, p. 12.
Ray White Nowra c. 2015. First Home Buyers, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://raywhitenowra.com.au/news/first-home-buyers-guide-to-purchasing-a-property/>.

6: Anti-Foreign Buyer Protest

Foreign Buyers Protest
Anti-foreign buyer protests in Chatswood (Domain 2015).

This image shows a group of anti-foreign buyer protesters who turned up to an auction in Chatswood on Sydney’s north shore. They are shown waving the Australian flag and holding placards with discriminatory slogans that aggressively state their disapproval of foreign buyers, in particular Chinese buyers, residing in the area. The disgraceful signs read, ‘Stop Chinese residential ownership’, ‘Keep the Aussie dream alive’, ‘It’s a foreign invasion’ and ‘Foreign ownership is economic genocide’ (Anti-foreign buyer group disrupts auctions on Sydney’s lower north shore 2015). The group span the tree-lined suburban street, in a protective stance.

What isn’t represented in the image, but is addressed in a video recording, is the response of the local neighbours.

On their behalf Chris McNally states, “It’s racism on the streets that we don’t really want to be honest…It’s a bunch of guys with nothing to do on a Saturday but wave flags. Like go to a sport” (Domain 2015).

Other stakeholders not represented in this image, are the foreign buyers themselves. There is much controversy surrounding the prevalence of foreign buyers in the Australian property market. Some people feel they are buying Australian’s out of their future homes whilst others embrace the thought of multiculturalism. It is interesting to discover how the tension surrounding the issue is handled by some of the locals as this was not revealed in my initial textual research.

Domain 2015, Protest at north shore auctions, video recording, Sydney, 29 August, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://www.domain.com.au/news/antiforeign-buyer-group-disrupts-auctions-on-sydneys-lower-north-shore-20150829-gjam7o/>.
Anti-foreign buyer group disrupts auctions on Sydney’s lower north shore 2015, Domain, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://www.domain.com.au/news/antiforeign-buyer-group-disrupts-auctions-on-sydneys-lower-north-shore-20150829-gjam7o/>.

7: High Density Living

Chatswood High Density Living
Meriton Serviced Apartments and Iglu Student Accommodation in Chatswood (Meriton 2015).

This is a representation of high density living in the commercial business district of Chatswood on Sydney’s north shore. It is evident through this image that there are a lot of high-rise buildings used for business and residential purposes. The more suburban, house-lined streets of Chatswood and its surrounding suburbs are not represented in this image. I selected this image because I have personal experience staying in Iglu Chatswood Student Accommodation (highlighted in the orange circle) and Meriton Serviced Apartments Chatswood (highlighted by the white circle). It is predicted that by 2030, Australia will have a lot more communal living arrangements and long-term single-person living options similar to current student housing (Devine 2016). Given this, I thought I would reflect on my high density living experiences.

In Iglu I had a dorm with a private bathroom but I shared a kitchen with three other people. The laundry facilities were shared with the entire building. It felt cramped at times however having less space to tidy was handy. At first I had a south-facing room where the lack of sunlight was a mood dampener. I definitely noticed the benefits of having morning sun flood through my window when I later swapped to a north-facing room. I experienced the difficulties of quarrelling room mates but also the joys of being part of a community. The most frustrating factor of communal dorm living was the sound pollution from the rooms on either side.

The Meriton apartment I stayed in, featured stunning views of Chatswood’s skyline. It had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, an internal laundry and a living space. The ability to cook and wash in privacy was much more convenient. Residents had private access to a gym, pool, spa and sauna. These luxuries made this option more expensive however as the latter mentioned were communal it was still affordable.

Devine, A. 2016, ‘Inside the house of 2030’, North Shore Times, 4 August, p. 53.
Meriton 2015, Meriton Group to Launch its Chatswood Towers, viewed 29 August, <http://thempreport.worldsecuresystems.com/articles/meriton-group-to-launch-its-chatswood-towers>.

8: Save Our Sirius

Save Our Sirius
Save Our Sirius (Sirius Building 2015).

The future of Sydney’s Sirius building is causing much controversy, particularly amongst architects, the Government, public housing tenants and the wider public. The Sirius building has been described as an eye-sore and a “…tower made out of mismatched Lego blocks” (Chapter 1: The Sirius Building 2016). The point of contention is whether or not the building should be left as it is, renovated or demolished to make way for new developments.

The Brutalist building is in a prime location in The Rocks by Sydney Harbour and is sitting on land worth $100 million. Built in 1980 to provide public housing for those affected by gentrification, activists are pushing for the building to be preserved for its architectural and cultural worth.

As Shaun Carter, NSW Chapter President of the Australian Institute of Architects explains, “You need to leave these little dots, these little markers in your city so that you can look back and tell you story. And we think Sirius is one of those particular examples. We’re not asking for thousands of buildings to be saved, but one that’s so significantly sewn into our storyline and our architectural history” (Chapter 1: The Sirius Building 2016).

However, in 2014 the Government started evicting tenants to clear the land for sale to property developers. I selected this photo for its emotional impact. At night, the SOS sign which stands for ‘Save Our Sirius’ is visible. It’s one of the many cries of protest from its few remaining tenants. The community has dwindled. This image is thus a representation of desperation, resistance but most importantly community – the people in this building have a connection to the Sirius as their home.

Chapter 1: The Sirius Building 2016, podcast, The Urbanist, Monocle, 25 August, viewed 29 August 2016, <https://monocle.com/radio/shows/the-urbanist/254/play/>.
Sirius Building 2016, Daily Mail, Sydney, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3541199/Inside-iconic-Sirius-building-spectacular-Sydney-Harbour-views-abandoned-ghost-town.html>.

9: Myra Demetriou

Myra Demetriou
Myra Demetriou (2016) inside her apartment in the Sirius building.

Whilst the previous photo of the Sirius building shows it’s exterior, I felt it was just as important to show an interior view. This photograph shows Myra Demetriou inside her apartment, as a representative of the few remaining tenants of the Sirius. Bringing the viewer inside the walls of the Sirius and introducing them to Mrs Demetriou establishes a sympathetic human connection. It shows the viewer the realities of the frugal lifestyle of those who live in public housing. I felt that whilst there are many images of public housing exteriors, there are few publicised that are as touching and intimate as this. Mrs Demetriou wants to stay at the Sirius not for its multi-million dollar views as she is in fact legally blind, but because she has built her life around it. The Government is moving public housing further and further into the outer suburbs and for Demetriou access to her familiar health care services is at stake.

Myra Demetriou 2016, Daily Mail, Sydney, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3541199/Inside-iconic-Sirius-building-spectacular-Sydney-Harbour-views-abandoned-ghost-town.html>.

10: Lilyfield Housing Redevelopment

Lilyfield Housing Development
Lilyfield Housing Redevelopment (Watpac c. 2011).

This is an image of the Lilyfield social housing redevelopment that was completed in 2011. The project oversaw the demolition of 40 dwellings and the construction of 88 new ones. “In the former development the high proportion of 3 bedroom units did not match the demand profile of the area, in which 1-2 person households predominate” (NSW Government n.d.). The redevelopment has thus proved to be a much more efficient use of space. The project has been awarded a 5-star Green star rating because of its high sustainability. Some of the sustainable highlights that also add to the development’s affordability are the use of solar energy and rainwater to reduce the costs of energy and water consumption. The indoor and outdoor bike storage racks promote residents to save money by limiting the use of cars and exercising more – there are in fact no car spaces onsite. They are also encouraged to use public transport which is readily accessible with a bus stop right across the road. There is even a community garden where tenants can grow their own fresh produce. This is a positive representation of a sustainable social housing development. Although tenants and their interaction with the site are absent, it appears to be a positive environment that fosters a sense of community and strong social interaction.

NSW Government n.d., Lilyfield Redevelopment, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://www.housing.nsw.gov.au/social-housing/redevelopment/lilyfield-redevelopment>.
Watpac c. 2011, Lilyfield Housing Redevelopment, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://www.watpac.com.au/project/lilyfield-housing-redevelopment/>.

 

Post 3: Mapping the participants (human and non – human) and constructing an image archive

StakeholdersMindmap.jpg

Stakeholders Map

Above depicts the mind map of the stakeholders that our group generated during the lesson. Through undertaking this activity, it was interesting to be able to draw links to categories of people that we would not usually associate with when first thinking of the housing crisis.


 

Image 1

GreenSquare_COS.jpg

Proposed Green Square Precinct by City of Sydney

This image highlights the proposed development of a new town centre (Green Square) by City of Sydney, which is located in the inner city region. It shows the close proximity of the area to the city centre, whilst also integrated with the airport, suggesting a sense of connectedness. The green colours represented in the picture, further implies the potential of the new development as a place that is sustainable and vibrant. This potential is also evident through the low-rise buildings currently existing in the area, which could be extended upon to facilitate for the development of a new town.

 


Image 2

BotanyRdAlexandria-544x411.png

 Botany Road Project by City West Housing

This image highlights the site that City West Housing, a not for profit community based organisation, is currently working on, which aims to develop housing for approximately 65 households (1,2 and 3 bedroom apartments) as well as spaces for parking and bicycle commuters. Whilst it is located on the northern end of Alexandria, bound to the east of Botany Road, it is evident that it is in relatively close proximity and commute to amenities and services like educational institutions, train stations and parks. Again, like the previous image, it can be seen how this area possesses potential for facilitating urban development considering the existence of low-level buildings in the area.


Image 3

Sydneys Most Unaffordable Suburbs.pngRental Affordability Index by SGS Economics & Planning

This image consists of two sets of data, the table on the right lists out some of Sydney’s most unaffordable suburbs for rent, by their postcodes and their correlating suburbs, which is supported by the index displayed on the map of Sydney, through the use of different colours to represent the affordability of those suburbs. It is evident that the severely unaffordable suburbs lie within the eastern and northern Sydney regions, with an alarming revelation of the unaffordability outreach extending many regions out west as well as south. The affordable areas which are very far west and a selective portion up north and down south indicate the regions where there is potential for future housing developments to occur.


Image 4, 5 & 6

Annual Growth of Household_Sydney Metropolitan.pngMetropolitan Sydney Population, Household & Dwelling Projections by NSW Government Planning & Environment

This data set shows the predictions of the average annual growth within different categories of households, differentiated by the colours in the bar graph, relevant to the metropolitan area of Sydney. It is suggested that the category of lone persons would see the most increase, closely followed by single parent households and couple only households.This prediction reveals not only the demographic of an ageing population as well as a large number within the 20-30s age bracket, which would influence the kinds of housing structures needed for the future (single bedroom & multi bedroom apartments), as these categories grow respectively.

Annual Growth of Household_Western Sydney.pngWestern Sydney Population, Household & Dwelling Projections by NSW Government Planning & Environment

This data set shows the predictions of the average annual growth relevant to the Western Sydney region. Like Metropolitan Sydney, the category of lone persons would see the most increase, closely followed by couple only households and single parent households. However, despite the same issue of an ageing population, these predictions reveal a big increase in shared housing compared to Metropolitan Sydney, suggesting a larger demographic of younger aged dwellers, which would influence the kinds of housing structures needed for the future(communal housing & attached dwelling units), as these categories grow respectively.

Annual Growth of Household_Regional NSW.pngRegional NSW Population, Household & Dwelling Projections by NSW Government Planning & Environment

This data set shows the predictions of the average annual growth relevant to the Regional NSW area. Unlike the dramatic increases in growth for Western Sydney and Metropolitan Sydney, it is evident that there is a more steady growth of each of the categories of household dwellings in Regional NSW. The consistency of the lone person category seeing the most growth is maintained, however it is followed by couple only households and then multiple and other family structured households, which is different in contrast to the previous two regions. It can be interpreted that this region facilitates housing (housing villages & retirement homes) for most of the ageing population.


Image 7

housing-bubble_900x385.jpgThe housing bubble

This image is a figurative representation of the current housing crisis, where the opportunity for first home buyers to secure a property is at an all time low. The reference of owning property to the ‘housing bubble’ alludes to the fragile nature of not only the housing market being affordable for first home buyers, but also individuals remaining in a stable situation to be able to afford a sustainable means of housing. The depiction of the hand holding the needle that almost bursts the bubble suggests the dream of owning a house to be almost out of reach.


Image 8

salt&pepper.jpgSocial housing complex challenges

This image suggests the inspection of a community housing situation, with three likely different kinds of household dwelling types – couple only, couple with children and multiple+ other family. It can be interpreted that the man dressed in the white shirt and tie is the real estate agent, while the other people present are potential home buyers. Given the location of the shot, it appears that they are considering a home within a townhouse complex, which represent the coming together of these different categories of people, at a crucial time where single house ownership is a struggle and social housing is seen as a more appropriate alternative.


Image 9 & 10

SiriusBuildingRedesign.jpg

SiriusBuilding.jpg

Redesign concept of Sirus Building by Chris Bosse from LAVA

These two images show the Sirius Building, an iconic social housing property located at The Rocks in Sydney. It has been under consideration for demolition and re development for many years which has remained controversial for long-term residents. Whilst the bottom image depicts the building in its current state, which has been referred to many as lacking character, the image above depicts the building in a re-imagined state, whereby the building has a more friendly exterior that still maintains the original design intention. Proposals like this demonstrate efforts to preserve the housing conditions for current residents, especially during a time like this where securing a sense of home has been made extremely difficult.


 

References

Image 1
Green Square, City of Sydney, viewed 27 August 2016, <http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/vision/green-square >.

Image 2
Botany Road,Alexandria.2015 , City West Housing, viewed 27 August 2016, <http://citywesthousing.com.au/news-and-media/botany-rd-alexandria >.

Image 3
Liveability Conference.2016 , White.Ellen, SGSEP, viewed 27 August 2016, <https://www.sgsep.com.au/application/files/4614/6793/1497/Ellen_Witte_-_Liveability_Conference_June_2016.pdf >.

Image 4,5,6
Sydney Metropolitan Population, Household & Dwelling Projections.2014 , NSW Government Planning & Environment, viewed 27 August 2016, <http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/~/media/Files/DPE/Factsheets-and-faqs/sydney-metropolitan-population-household-and-dwelling-projections.ashx >.

Western Sydney Population, Household & Dwelling Projections.2014 , NSW Government Planning & Environment, viewed 27 August 2016, <http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/~/media/510E1962E5AD403392315A6AAA8A5E8D.ashx >.

Regional NSW Population, Household & Dwelling Projections.2014 , NSW Government Planning & Environment, viewed 27 August 2016, <http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/~/media/FC38995C30D141419DF424DAEB24BDA0.ashx >.

Image 7
Solving the housing crisis without pitting young against old, The Ethics Centre, viewed 28 August 2016, <http://www.ethics.org.au/on-ethics/blog/july-2015-(1)/solving-the-housing-crisis-without-pitting-young-a >.

Image 8
‘Salt and pepper’ Sydney social housing redevelopment holds promise , The Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 28 August 2016, <http://www.smh.com.au/comment/salt-and-pepper-sydney-social-housing-redevelopment-holds-promise-20141126-11uad3.html >.

Image 9,10
LAVA architect Sirius about saving Sydney’s brutalist landmark, Architecture & Design by Infolink, viewed 28 August 2016, <http://www.architectureanddesign.com.au/news/lava-architects-sirius-about-saving-sydney-s-bruta >.

 

 

Post 4: Sydney Housing Affordability Index – a data driven design

The ‘Sydney Housing Affordability Index’ is a data driven design project by Laurence Troy and Ryan van den Nouwelant, from the City Futures Research Centre at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

The index is a data visualisation that takes the form of an interactive map. Two main technologies have been identified as the building blocks of this project – Leaflet and CARTO. Leaflet (2015) is an open-source JavaScript library that helps developers code interactive maps for use on desktop and mobile platforms. CARTO is a web-based analysis tool that specialises in drawing insights from location data or as they call it “location intelligence” (CARTO n.d.).

The index compares the housing affordability of individual Sydney suburbs in 2005 and 2015. The duo set out to uncover, “What proportion of dwellings is affordable?” (Troy & van den Nouwelant 2015). To determine this, the duo compared property sales data from 2005 and 2015 against their defined affordability threshold for each year. By conducting a comparison, changes in housing affordability can be identified.

For the purposes of this project, the affordability threshold for each year is set in relation to the median household income of home buyers. For 2005, the median income was set at $71,700, which is an equivalent to the median income of $100,000 set for 2015, given the inflation of NSW wages over the decade. The affordable thresholds for each comparative year, display a similar increase, with a threshold of $367,950 for 2005 and $513,180 for 2015.

The data is integrated into an interactive map. For the 2005 and 2015 maps, a colour-coded key is set up to identify the proportion of property sales within each suburb, that sit within the affordability thresholds for that year. Essentially, the red suburbs show a very low proportion of affordable sales (less than 39%). Yellow identifies suburbs where roughly half the sales were affordable (40-59%). Green signifies suburbs with high proportions of affordable sales (over 60%).

2005
‘2005’ map from Sydney Housing Affordability Index (Troy & van den Nouwelant 2015)
2015
‘2015’ map from Sydney Housing Affordability Index (Troy & van den Nouwelant 2015)

I have included screenshots of the ‘2005’ and ‘2015’ maps to highlight a few key insights that the project yielded. I definitely encourage you to look at the working design here! The colour-coding makes it easy to see the dramatic decrease in the proportionate affordability of sales in suburbs close to Sydney’s central business district (CBD). It is evident in 2015 that the dark red range (indicative of suburbs with very low proportions of affordable sales) has expanded greatly since 2005.

Previous pockets of affordability such as Ultimo and regions such as Western Sydney have succumbed to the housing crisis and show low rates of affordability in 2015.

Additionally, comparing the maps shows that people are moving further away from the CBD in 2015, into Sydney’s fringes and rural areas such as Oberon and Wyong, where housing is more affordable.

CHANGE
‘Change’ Map from Sydney Housing Affordability Index

Low rates of affordability that are expanding into Sydney’s west, are further supported by the ‘Change’ map which uses the colour-coding system to describe the changes in affordability between 2005 and 2015. Whilst consistently expensive regions such as the North Shore register as having little change in their affordability, most suburbs in Sydney’s West are marked as less affordable or much less affordable.

Agafonkin, V. 2015, Leaflet, viewed 22 August, 2016, <http://leafletjs.com/>.
CARTO n.d., Engine, viewed 22 August 2016, <https://carto.com/engine/>.
Troy, L. & van den Nouwelant, R. 2015, Sydney Housing Affordability Index, UNSW Built Environment – City Futures Research Centre, Sydney, viewed 22 August 2016, <https://cityfutures.be.unsw.edu.au/cityviz/affordability-index/>.

{post 1} the shift to homelessness.

five news articles. brief analysis. reflection. judith tan.

to caption
(NKB Images 2013) A destitute young man sits at the side of a road, crouching and hiding his face, perhaps in an attempt to escape from the cold, or hide an unkempt face and wretched tears, or catch some shut-eye to make up for interrupted sleep. The hoodie and the knees of the jeans show little wear, telling of better times now past, and evidence that the youth has not been homeless for long.

Dear reader,

This post marks the embarkment of a research and design project into the issue of homelessness and social inclusion. As it is such a broad and complex topic, I have chosen to begin by investigating into the how and why of people becoming homeless, in an attempt to aid direction and bring some focus into my initial research.

Although I am now only starting to scrape the surface of the perplexity of homelessness, my aim is to delve deeper, and if possible, come to a design solution in response to this issue.

If you will, bear with me on this journey of process, which I hope will see us growing in perspective and clarity of vision on an issue which is becoming increasingly grave in our nation.

Continue reading “{post 1} the shift to homelessness.”

POST 2: Scholarly Sources

‘Housing Issues Paper’ by the City of Sydney – 2015

The City of Sydney is the local Government authority for Sydney’s central business district and its surrounds. For the 2015 ‘Housing Issues Paper’ the City of Sydney’s social strategy team consulted over 60 reliable and expert sources, including the Reserve Bank of Australia, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Government and Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. The paper is thus a highly recommended source of accurate information on the issue of housing affordability.

The City of Sydney releases a variety of papers, and like many, this is directed primarily towards policy makers (i.e. State and Federal Governments). This paper was written to “ignite debate” (City of Sydney 2015) specifically on the issues of housing supply, diversity and affordability. The paper thus also concerns property investors, property developers, housing providers and people researching Sydney’s housing crisis. The content is highly factual and non-biased in its delivery. It discusses the impacts, challenges and context of the crisis for all levels of household income.

City of Sydney Housing Issues Data Visualisation
A data visualisation from the Housing Issues Paper that uses statistics to establish the context of Sydney’s housing crisis (City of Sydney 2015).

The City of Sydney delivers in its paper, strong and rigorously researched recommendations, plans and models for the Government as well as the private and community sectors. This sets it apart from many of the other sources I have analysed. One key example is the suggestion is to make rental tenancies more secure, long-term and affordable.

Another recommendation is to increase the delivery of small and affordable housing solutions that are void of costly extras such as car spaces, swimming pools and en-suites.

Throughout the paper, it is evident that the City of Sydney is placing a lot of responsibility on the State and Federal Governments to enact meaningful policy reforms in order to lift Sydney out of its housing crisis. The City of Sydney thus shares this common position of authors on the issue of housing affordability. In addition, it also shares the same position that is forecasted in Aidan Devine’s (2016) article ‘Inside the house of 2030’. That is, the view that housing in the future will likely need to become more communal and high density, and that single-person dwelling models will be adopted, similar to Sydney’s current student accommodation solutions.

City of Sydney 2015, Housing Issues Paper, City of Sydney, Sydney, viewed 14 August 2016, <http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/127369/affordable_rental_housing_strategy_amendments_FINAL_180510.pdf>.
Devine, A. 2016, ‘Inside the house of 2030’, North Shore Times, 4 August, p. 53.

‘Drive till you qualify: an alternative view of housing affordability’ by Dr. Sadasivam, Dr. Jon Kellett and Dr. John Morrissey for the State of Australian Cities National Conference – published online in 2016

Dr. Sadasivam Karuppannan is a senior lecturer at University of South Australia (2014). Dr. Jon Kellett is a professor of planning and property at University of Adelaide (2016). Dr. John Morrissey is a lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University (2016). These highly qualified academic researchers have a shared interest in writing journal articles, researching and speaking about the areas of urban planning and sustainability. In 2016, they published their conference paper online titled ‘Drive till you qualify: an alternative view of housing affordability’, from the 2015 State of Australian Cities National Conference. Given that housing affordability is within their fields of expertise and the high quality of their references, I advise them to be relevant and trustworthy. They write for an academic and policy maker audience who have an expert understanding of housing affordability. The writing manner is extremely factual and well-researched.

They conduct thorough analysis and comparison of 2006 and 2011 census data and research relevant case studies to draw logical conclusions without bias. Using Adelaide as a case study, the paper challenges the perceived affordability advantages for households on low incomes, to live in the outer suburbs.

Affordable housing is defined as costing 30 percent or less of a household’s disposable income.

It is concluded that despite there being advantages in 2006, by 2011, housing affordability has worsened all over and there is no longer a strong advantage for low income workers to live in the city fringes. This is because the research identifies higher transport costs involving private vehicles for people living further away from city centres due to less public transport. This factual evidence from the Adelaide case study, goes against the common assumption that living further away from a city centre is a much more affordable option for low income households. Given this knowledge, I hope that significant improvements to NSW public transport will allow for more affordable housing in Sydney’s outer suburbs. For example, the Sydney Metro Northwest is a current project that will provide, “…a reliable public transport service to a region which has the highest car ownership levels per household in NSW” (Sydney Metro n.d.).

Karuppannan, S., Kellett, J. & Morrissey, J. 2016, ‘Drive till you qualify: an alternative view of housing affordability’, State of Australian Cities National Conference (SOAC 7) (09 Dec 2015 – 11 Dec 2015 : Gold Coast, QLD), Gold Coast, viewed 8 August 2016, <https://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/handle/2440/98652>.
Liverpool John Moores University 2016, John Morrissey, viewed 8 August 2016, <https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/about-us/staff-profiles/faculty-of-science/natural-sciences-and-psychology/john-morrissey>.
Sydney Metro n.d., Project Overview, viewed 15 August 2016, <http://www.sydneymetro.info/northwest/project-overview>.
The University of Adelaide 2016, Professor Jon Kellett, viewed 8 August 2016, <http://www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/jon.kellett>.
University of South Australia 2014, Dr Sadasivam Karuppannan, viewed 8 August 2016, <http://people.unisa.edu.au/sadasivam.karuppannan>.

 

Post 1: Data Set for Housing Affordability

‘What’s the key to home ownership for Gen Y?’ by Dr. Amity James, Dr. Rachel Ong and Dr. Steven Rowley for The Conversation – 23 June 2016

The authors are all academics with doctorates, affiliated with Curtin University in Perth. Amity James is a senior research officer, Steven Rowley is a director and Rachel Ong is a deputy director. They are all experts on the issue of housing affordability, which falls within their field of property and economics.

In addition to writing detailed reports for academic audiences, the authors (Ong and Rowley particularly) are also regular contributors to The Conversation. The Conversation serves as a platform for these academics to share their complex understanding of housing affordability, to the general public in a simpler and more accessible manner. The Conversation has identified that 82% of readers are non-academics and 59% of readers are under 44 (The Conversation 2016). This article is thus appropriately targeted towards young members of the general public.

This article is factual and relevant as it is based on recent data collected from a 2016 survey conducted with over 4,300 respondents. It is a commentary on the struggles for 18-35 year olds, who have been dubbed “Generation Rent” (James, Ong & Riley 2016), to become homeowners. The authors identify Generation Y’s biggest obstacle as the deposit gap that is approximately $50k on average as informed by their survey. Unfortunately not everyone has the luxury of financial assistance from family or friends.

‘Gen Y’ should not have to rely on the, “bank of mum and dad” (James, Ong & Riley 2016).

I agree with the authors, who share the common position of other authors on the issue, that the government needs to implement significant policy reforms to make first home ownership more attainable for ‘Gen Y’.

James, A., Ong, R. & Rowley, S. 2016, ‘What’s the key to home ownership for Gen Y?’, The Conversation, 23 June, viewed 8 August 2016, <https://theconversation.com/whats-the-key-to-home-ownership-for-gen-y-60637>.
The Conversation 2016, Our Audience, viewed 15 August 2016, <https://theconversation.com/au/audience>.

 

‘Housing affordability: How the major parties plan to tackle the crisis’ by Dana McCauley for News.com.au – 30 June 2016

Dana McCauley is the finance editor at News.com.au with an academic background in law and journalism (LinkedIn n.d.). News.com.au prides itself on being Australia’s top news site reaching over 5.5 million readers (News.com.au 2016). As a professional writer for News.com.au, McCauley is required to uphold the body’s overarching value of truth.

McCauley is responsible for regularly writing about a broad range of financial issues such as banking, employment and real estate. This article was written to arouse discussion on housing affordability amongst the general public, leading up to the 2016 Federal election. In my opinion, McCauley’s skills lie more in being able to captivatingly relay information to the general public more so than being an expert in the matter of housing affordability herself.

This article is based on a variety of opinions in relation to solving the housing affordability crisis. McCauley explains the perspectives of the Labour party, the Liberal Party/Coalition, the younger generation of first-home buyers, investment property buyers and the real estate industry. McCauley does not write with any bias towards a particular group. She does however highlight the common position that resolving the housing crisis through policy reform, is urgent and needs to be a priority for whichever Government is in power.

LinkedIn n.d., Dana McCauley, viewed 8 August 2016, <https://au.linkedin.com/in/dana-mccauley-22076548>.
McCauley, D. 2016, ‘Housing affordability: How the major parties plan to tackle the crisis’, News.com.au, 30 June, viewed 8 August 2016, <http://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/australian-economy/housing-affordability-how-the-major-parties-plan-to-tackle-the-crisis/news-story/1bb88bb39bb0b8df6916115e9718ef90>.
News.com.au 2016, More Information, viewed 8 August 2016, <http://www.news.com.au/more-information>.

 

‘Crisis point for affordable housing’ by Damien Murphy for The Sydney Morning Herald – 13-14 August 2016

Damien Murphy has been a senior journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) since 1998. He writes for a mature public audience, on a broad range of topics ranging from sports to politics. He has been an active journalist since 1974, reporting for The Age, Time and The Bulletin (Murphy 2016b). In 2012, he was widely criticised for not fairly consulting all parties concerned in a report (Crikey 2013). Logic still suggests that with over 40 years of professional experience and as a contributor to one of Australia’s most reputable, trustworthy and oldest newspapers, he is a reliable and accurate journalist.

Murphy is an expert in housing affordability, writing on the topic for the SMH since at least 2002 (Murphy 2002). Given the increasing concern and focus on housing affordability within the past decade however, his reports on the topic have become more frequent. Murphy’s recent article on the matter ‘Crisis point for affordable housing’ (2016a) is highly opinionated.

Murphy consults Dr. Tim Williams, Committee for Sydney chief executive, who shares his opinions with strong and emotional statements like, “Australian cities are beginning to sleepwalk to social immobility,” and “…we’re not enabling our children to grow up in the areas we grew up in.”

There is a particular bias to blaming the Government and private sector for the growing disappearance of affordable housing to which I agree. Murphy reinforces the common opinion that drastic changes to housing policies are in need to solve the lack of affordable housing.

Crikey 2013, ‘Media briefs: Daily Mail launches in Oz … Kenny sues Chaser… SMH slapped’, Crikey, 27 November, viewed 14 August 2016, <https://www.crikey.com.au/2013/11/27/media-briefs-daily-mail-launches-in-oz-kenny-sues-chaser-smh-slapped/>.
Murphy, D. 2002, ‘Good times, bad times’, Sydney Morning Herald, 27 April, viewed 14 August 2016, <http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/04/26/1019441303998.html>.
Murphy, D. 2016a, ‘Crisis point for affordable housing’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13-14 August, p. 12.
Murphy, D. 2016b, ‘Sydney timeline since SMH was first published in 1831’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 April, viewed 14 August 2016, <http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/sydney-timeline-for-herald-185th-20160404-gny4o1.html>.

 

‘Inside the house of 2030’ by Aidan Devine for the North Shore Times – 4 August 2016

Aidan Devine is a real estate journalist employed by News Corp Australia (realestate.com.au 2016) to write for the North Shore Times. Devine’s audience consists of real-estate interested community members living on the North Shore – in particular, homeowners and prospective buyers. Considering Devine researches and writes about real estate on a weekly basis, he is a well-versed expert on the current hot issue of housing affordability. His article history shows that he primarily focuses on NSW real estate (realestate.com.au 2016).

Devine’s article ‘Inside the house of 2030’ is a forecast of future Australian household living arrangements. Given Australia’s current housing affordability crisis, there is much wild speculation and fear as to the future of Australian housing. Devine consults the analytical studies of Commonwealth Bank’s Executive General Manager for Home Loans, Dan Huggins, for a credible, logical and expert forecast.

Devine points the audience towards a future where it is very common for housing arrangements to extend beyond the nuclear family.

That is, more communal housing set-ups such as multi-generational families or renters under one roof, will be the norm. It is also predicted that single-person housing arrangements, similar to current student housing solutions, will also become more prevalent. These predictions align with many of the action plans proposed by the City of Sydney (2015) in their ‘Housing Issues Paper’. Given that Australia’s increasing population, I agree that Australia is likely to have an increased number of high density living arrangements in the future.

City of Sydney 2015, Housing Issues Paper, City of Sydney, Sydney, viewed 14 August 2016, <http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/127369/affordable_rental_housing_strategy_amendments_FINAL_180510.pdf>.
Devine, A. 2016, ‘Inside the house of 2030’, North Shore Times, 4 August, p. 53.
realestate.com.au 2016, ‘Aidan Devine’, viewed 14 August 2016, <http://www.realestate.com.au/news/author/aidan-devine/>.

‘NSW imposes 4 per cent stamp duty surcharge on foreign buyers of real estate’ by Larry Schlesinger for the Australian Financial Review – 15 June 2016

Larry Schlesinger is a Melbourne-based real estate reporter who writes multiple articles a week for the Australian Financial Review – a professional and trustworthy authority. Schlesinger writes for a national business and investor audience and “specialises in commercial and residential property” (Australian Financial Review 2016). I do not doubt the validity of this article by Schlesinger as he is an expert within the field.

This article was written in response to the fact that the NSW Government introduced a 4% stamp duty surcharge for foreign real estate buyers. The article discusses the impact of the new policy – the disadvantages for foreign buyers and the intended advantages for the Australian economy and homebuyers. It is a thought-provoking article, that is part factual and part opinion, that leaves the reader with more questions than answers.

As a residential property developer and owner of Meriton, Harry Triguboff claims that the 4% stamp duty is a heavy deterrent for Chinese buyers.

He is supported by the Property Council who claim that the policy is a “tax grab” by the NSW Government (Schlesinger 2016). In opposition, NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian is quoted in the article as explaining that the tax will deliver approximately $1 billion to the NSW treasury. I personally support the NSW Government’s new policy in the hopes that it creates more opportunity for Australian’s to buy affordable NSW property. Given that the common position of other authors on the issue of housing affordability, has called for the Government to implement policy reform, I believe this article will provide some relief to Australian homeowners and buyers.

Schlesinger, L. 2016, ‘NSW imposes 4 per cent stamp duty surcharge on foreign buyers of real estate’, Australian Financial Review, 15 June, viewed 14 August 2016, <http://www.afr.com/real-estate/residential/nsw/nsw-imposes-4-per-cent-stamp-duty-surcharge-on-foreign-buyers-of-real-estate-20160614-gpigm5>.
Australian Financial Review 2016, Larry Schlesinger, viewed 14 August 2016, <http://www.afr.com/larry-schlesinger-14476t>.

Positions for further investigation

Housing affordability for young, perspective first homeowners.

As a 21-year-old Sydney sider, I have a strong fear that I won’t be able to afford a house in the suburbs I grew up in. I want to delve deeper into the issue of housing affordability and the impacts of increasing property prices to the ability of young people to enter the private property market. I am heavily interested in uncovering how young people can establish a realistic plan towards home ownership, including how mortgages and home loans work.

Housing affordability for low income earners.

I want to investigate in more detail, some of the proposed high-density and affordable housing solutions for low income earners. I am fascinated by the forecasted shift towards more communal housing arrangements and shared spaces. I am interested in learning more about the low income bracket and what career paths and lifestyle choices predispose someone to a low income. Additionally, I would like to further investigate average property prices for certain suburbs, to see where the cheapest living options are and why.

Housing affordability from the perspective of the State and Federal Governments.

There have been a lot of recommendations made to the Government, as to potential solutions for Australia’s housing crisis. Given the recent implementation of the 4% stamp duty tax for foreign buyers, I am interested in finding out what other policies and tactics the Government is deliberating. I want to research the reasons why certain recommendations may have been followed up and/or implemented and why some may not.

Post 2: Building your expertise using scholarly secondary sources

BY CHRISTY HUI

In my initial research into housing affordability in Australia, I’ve analysed articles that had provided me with insights and understanding of why Sydney is one of the most unaffordable city to live in. With personal accounts, data and statistical information about the economic growth, capital tax and negative gearing all have an impact to the housing price.  When I started looking into scholarly journals about this issue, I found two article that addresses the housing affordability in a different manner.


Affordable Rental Housing Strategy 2009-2014

City of Sydney is the local government authority that is responsible for the Sydney CBD and more than 30 suburbs within the boundaries. City of Sydney recognises the issue with housing affordability in Sydney but also how it has a social, economic and environmental sustainability impact in the long term. The City has released a strategy report “Affordable Rental Housing Strategy”, which aims to to protect existing affordable housing and to facilitate new affordable housing in the City of Sydney area. The City also reports on the statistical information showing us the difference with low income earners renting on the private rental market compared to those who rent with The City’s affordable housing. The City’s definition of affordable housing with the concept of ‘reasonable’ housing costs in relation to the household income.

A common benchmark is that affordable housing is housing that does not absorb more than 30% of a very low, low or moderate income household’s gross income

The City acknowledges that having access to secure, comfortable and affordable housing is not the only basic requirement for all people, but is an essential that hold in the future of Sydney. I believe they are a reliable source, as these actions are in play right now providing affordable housing for low income earners.


Affordable rental housing: the problem and its causes

NSW Parliamentary Research Service also launched a research paper to bring awareness about housing affordability ; problem and its causes. Andrew Haylen writes papers for the Parliamentary Research Service expertised in research economist specialising in public policy analysis. This research paper is very similar to the previous academic source where it both addresses the problem and solution to affordable housing. Haylen uses many other academic sources and previous government policy and reports on this matter, showing elaborate research that causes of the affordable rental housing shortage. There is a long term undersupply of affordable housing in NSW for lower to middle income earners and for Sydney particularly, are vulnerable as a result of surging purchase and rental prices, as well as slowing wage growth. Haylen talks about the challenges for the government has, and how they are finding the right balance for those struggling with housing prices.

The NSW Legislative Council Select Committee on Social, Public and Affordable Housing concluded that “…without improvement at all levels in the system, there would be a cascading effect on housing choices, with people being pushed further down the housing continuum.”

The report conclude that this affordability issue affects households across all segments of the market, it is particularly pressuring lower income households in need of affordable rental housing.



References:

City of Sydney, 2009. “Affordable Rental Housing Strategy 2009-2014“, City of Sydney, viewed 12th August 2016, <http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/127369/affordable_rental_housing_strategy_amendments_FINAL_180510.pdf&gt;

Haylen, A. 2015. “Affordable rental housing: the problem and its causes”, Parliament NSW, viewed 12th August 2016,<https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/researchpapers/Documents/affordable-rental-housing-the-problem-and-its-ca/Affordability%20in%20a%20nutshell%20-%20E-brief%20FINAL.pdf&gt;