Making It real
My story in attempting to bring a new housing type that improves affordability, livability & community resilience
I won’t deny that I am someone that hungers and loves a project. Back in 2008 I found myself in a time in my life where I had a strong desire to tinker and deliver on a housing idea. I was not clear at the time what it would be, but I knew I wanted it to be more than a house that was just for me and my current needs. During this period of contemplation, there were rumblings of a looming housing affordability crisis with different voices increasingly promoting their views on alternative solutions to the broader audience. This discussion was gaining traction as it was being coupled with the increasing concern of the generally living expenses in such things as power bills, aged and child care. Unfortunately, I was finding that these conversations were becoming circular as the theory was rarely matched by action.
Then the mini Global financial Crisis hit in 2009 and as is common in such events, the hatches of business shut temporarily but for long enough to take some of the sting out of the residential property market. Even though the concern quickly shifted away from the environment and housing affordability to jobs and the economy, it was not long before living affordability would soon rise again to become a key public issue of concern. It was becoming clearer to me that unless there was a fundamental shift in how we supplied housing, it would result in long term social disadvantage of which would take decades to reverse. This was a challenging worthy of solving and one where I thought I was somewhat qualified to add value contribute and work on a solution. Unfortunately, as is seemingly customary with public affairs I also found myself being caught up in the never-ending cycle of having conversations, going to round table meetings and visionary workshops which typically ended up at where it all started. It was almost as though we didn’t want to change for fear of what it might bring.
Back in those early days, it was becoming increasingly apparent that the people who had the power to make change where it as needed the most, would not for one of three reasons. They did not believe there was a housing problem to solve, they did not want to disrupt the current market economics for fear of retribution from existing property beneficiaries, or the planning changes needed were too great a sell to the public at large. Regardless of what I considered a lack of leadership, I didn’t want to believe that a small change that I might be able to introduce, wouldn’t make a difference. I wanted to see if I myself could find, design and deliver a real live solution that might be replicated by others. My idea was forming as the problems where clear.
I decided that my house project would be one that was both affordable and would more effectively meet the needs of future families, regardless of what stage or circumstance of life they found themselves in. At the time of writing this first entry, the journey of the delivering the concept was 8 years well progressed but still not over. Due to the length of the journey and the obstacles that I have had to maneuver around, I thought it might be of value to record the whole process of ideation, design, delivery and hopefully a post review from those living within the house to see how much of the original objectives were meet. Perhaps one day it might be useful manual of what to avoid or an outline in how we can improve a system that is designed to improve community outcomes. Hopefully (not too far in the future) when I write my last article, I will have succeeded in delivering the home and the idea is replicated elsewhere.
Welcome to my journey in seeking to increase the resilience of my community.
A property expert with over 25 years experience working across both private and public sectors, predominately within the housing space.