The beauty of co-design: Logan mums, a top architect, and transitional housing set to change lives
With key design elements by young mums for young mums, the Logan Housing Project will transform the lives of vulnerable young parents in Logan.
The transitional housing, a safe haven for mums under 24 and their children, is designed to be lived in for 18 months while women are supported by YFS and other organisations to help them rebuild their lives, and gain the skills, resources and confidence to move into long-term housing.
The project, led by The Lady Musgrave Trust, is being built on donated land and has received more than $1 million dollars in pro-bono consulting services as well as cash, products, and trade from the Property Industry Foundation.
Top of the priority list in the development is creating a space for the women and their children to feel comfortable and safe – and the Young Parent Influencers, a group of women working with YFS, worked with architects to ensure the homes fit the bill.
The Lady Musgrave Trust CEO Victoria Parker says the collaboration between the young parents and architects had a big impact on everyone involved.
‘The young women provided some incredible ideas around things that were important about the space – from practical things like curved corners and low benches for the kids, to pram bays and communal space that invited connection between neighbours,’ she says.
‘There were some things they brought up that you simply wouldn’t know if you didn’t have lived experience, and these young people were thinking of their own experiences living with children as a young parent.
‘We took the housing hub project team to work with these women and it blew their minds. These people are quite corporate, at the top of their game, and I have heard from at least one of them that this co-design process has redefined their approach to architecture.’
It wasn’t only a transformational process for the architects – it was for the Young Parent Influencers, too.
‘What was really beautiful, and something we didn’t anticipate, was the impact that participating in this process had on these women,’ Victoria says.
‘We thought they were doing us a favour – and their input was incredible – but it has been transformational for them too, to be consulted and heard like this. One of the women involved said it was a turning point in her life.
‘It’s the power of involving the people who know about the experiences these women who come and live in the hub are going through, making sure their ideas are seen and incorporated. We want this space to be high quality and beautiful, reminding those that live in it that they are worth it.’
“We took the housing hub project team to work with these women and it blew their minds.... I have heard from at least one of them that this co-design process has redefined their approach to architecture.”— Victoria Parker
Young Families Program Manager at YFS, Amy Blair, agrees it has been a life-changing process.
‘The Young Parent Influencers meet monthly, and a range of organisations will seek their input into a range of things to do with young families – and this project was huge for them,’ she says.
‘As a facilitator, you can sit back and see the confidence of the group grow, as they realise they really do have a voice.
‘That was reinforced when The Lady Musgrave Trust came back with updated plans that had incorporated the input of our mums.
‘These women are used to having their boundaries pushed, and now they are finding their voice – they have been really busy, and they are finding their passion.’
The housing project will feature 4 units, to house 4 mums and their children. If the project is successful, the intention is to replicate it in additional spaces around Logan and further afield.
More support is still being sought to cover construction costs, but Victoria says she is confident the homes will be built and tenanted by Christmas next year. Anyone interested in finding out more can head to Logan Housing Hub – The Lady Musgrave Trust.