Under Construction: How Home-making and Underlying Purchase Motivations Surface in a Housing Building Site
Drawing on material geographies of home, this paper argues researching building sites furthers understandings of home-making, purchase motivations and modes of valuing new homes. The building site is examined through semi-structured walking interviews with 21 households living in a master-planned estate (MPE) under construction in southern Sydney. MPEs are a fitting representative for profiling the intricacies of new build housing developments. In these contexts, the duration of the building site persists; this overlaps with early occupation and creates challenges that are expected and unexpected, brief and enduring. Results are presented in two sections. First, sharing space with builders and new neighbours fractures some expectations of an ideal home. Home-making proceeds by accommodating, both emotionally and physically, the challenges of building sites. The second section shows how residents weigh up home-making challenges alongside anticipated financial reward. This reward is always speculative though, and the building site compounds this: residents take a risk at the outset, managing fears and worries that hinge upon the aesthetic expression of others. Building site experiences are both an example and evidence of home as a process. Housing studies should continue to pause at these interstitial moments, towards better grasping the expectations and aspirations of contemporary home-making.