Can a transparent housing model based on collaborative consumption provide a viable housing alternative – one that is affordable, flexible and caters for the rapidly changing lives of young Australians while dissolving the public / private divide.
A lifetime of labour can no longer match the returns of an acquired fortune, thus the rich are getting richer and the economic framework of global capitalism is bringing about an inescapable future characterised by levels of inequality not seen since the industrial revolution.
Contrary to the theories of the vast majority of economists following Maynard Keynes, economic inequality may not be a temporary by-product of capitalism that will ultimately be overcome by the very system that is producing it. Instead, economic inequality may be a structural feature of global capitalism and therefore an inevitable long-term effect of this system. In the Australian context, one area in which inequality has become acutely apparent is that of housing, which has become increasingly unattainable in all major Australian cities. The ‘Australian dream’ of the 1970s of a freestanding house on a quarter acre suburban block is no longer tenable. Not only is housing affordability posing difficulties for many Australians, there are very limited options available when it comes to affordable housing.
The narrative of affordable housing in Australia is expressed in the neo-liberal language of medium density residential apartment developments. The saturation of the housing market with such developments presents prospective home owners with a choice between two unsatisfactory options. There is a growing demand for new urban housing arrangements that offer a different expression of Australia’s national identity than that idealised by the ‘Australian dream’ of the 1970s or neo-liberal driven high density housing developments.
Perhaps it is time to re-think the Australian dream and look toward a better form of higher density housing that can at least go some way towards ameliorating the persistent inequalities produced by the global capitalist framework within which we operate. The status quo development model, driven by neo-liberal rhetoric, is aimed at delivering buildings with maximum financial yields rather than focusing on the people who inhabit those buildings and their impact on the surrounding community and the environment more broadly.
Drawing on the Nightingale Model of architect-ed development that Breathe Architecture has researched and practiced over the past 10 years, LiveInn seeks to offer a multi-residential architectural design delivered for its inhabitants with a focus on social, environmental and economic sustainability. Put simply, the creation of meaningful contributions to the city and exceptional spaces for living in.