Conference paper

Archetypes and other heuristics for planning in the social complexity of the Australian private rental system

Rental affordability Housing stress Private rental Cities and towns Urban planning Australia
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Abstract: Proclamations that cast Australia as ‘a nation of home owners’ and having an egalitarian culture of ‘the fair go’ have long been embraced by Australians. Yet, the rate of home ownership is declining and we have a housing system where steadily increasing numbers of renters experience decreasing levels of security; financial, physical/material, and ontological. This paper describes participatory processes from a methodological approach developed for understanding social complexity. Based in the online mass capture of renters’ subjective micronarratives (utilising Sensemaker™) these narrative, action research based methods are revealing systemic issues, archetypes and other heuristics as patterns of practice and behaviour within the private rental system (PRS). Some practices and behaviours revealed in the Renters at Home research are exacerbating Australian renters’ already disaffected senses of ontological security and home. Here I take just one key concern being investigated – privacy – and just one key factor related to it – rental inspections – to outline and discuss the methods and explore the value of working with archetypes and other heuristics as emergent patterns for understanding system impacts upon renters. As a counter to the ongoing fall from egalitarian grace in current contexts of the PRS I also discuss the usefulness of mapping rental inspection related issues, extracted by participants in the action research, to appropriate ontological domains of the Cynefin Framework; as support for decision making in sociourban policy, planning and practice spheres. As the final piece in one cycle of the action research process I conclude with a selection of potential policy and practice ‘action responses’ derived from mapping rental inspections issues to the framework.

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