Home is where the heart is

Housing and living arrangements
Thursday 26 July, 1320-1340


Philippa Forge

Generations are portrayed as competing to secure Australia’s distinctive “Great Australian Dream” an ideology describing a long-held belief that home ownership is part of our shared identity, providing security, safety and happiness. However, housing affordability is at all-time lows, and there have been failings in the way housing has been managed, including town planning, financial incentives and affordability controls. Short-termism within politics further limits our national ability to provide strategic, well thought-out policies. Within rental markets, calls for increased security of tenure abound. Against a backdrop of a rapidly ageing population and a job market where four generations compete and collaborate, now is the time to reflect upon what matters.

And what matters most is a home, distinct from a house or other dwelling, almost intangible and made up of wide-ranging features. Debates focus on material elements, which can overlook the home, a concept offering refuge and expression of identity. Our ability to secure a home is not working. Intervention is needed to ensure long-term change to improve collective wellbeing.

This research explores attachment to homes, recognising loss that can come with change, and elation experienced when circumstances align with our need for an anchor, change or opportunity. Light is shed on the rawness of our connection, exploring the mood of the community and the importance of getting things right in the future. Drawing upon literature and preliminary interview, this research maps the importance of home, and how changes to status by way of tenure, location or occupants affect families.