Livestream: Building your ‘own’ home can be a bold step towards sustainability

Every hour – in the space of your intermission – 4,000 new homes are needed in the world. Wrap your head around that number.
Sarah Murray
Sarah Murray


That’s an astonishing 35 million homes globally, every year. This is a pitch note of sorts that Sarah Murray, a digital housing developer presents to the audience at her Ted Talk. The young Australian considers herself part of a generation for who the dream of owning one’s own house is next to impossible. Addressing the public, she says, “In 2017, home ownership amongst young Australians has fallen to the lowest level in recorded history. So, foolishly or otherwise, I decided to build my own home.”

But this was a decision easier said than done as Murray went ahead with the process of scouting for architects and builders, which she realised was a royal pain in the neck. And there were many reasons for this. Architects literally cater to the top one per cent of society and in the context of Australia, builders seemed to ‘scarce and inconsistent’. And that’s what prompted Murray to go ahead and build a computer game – which allows users to design their own house and gets it delivered to them – no less.

Sarah tells us, “A game with full visibility of the costs and environmental impact of each new attribute you add. Using modular components, players select items from their library and drag them into their world.”

Sarah, who happens to be a digital developer, and a Samaritan at that, is employing her game to actually combat the housing crisis that has now become a sign of our times. She says that her company is currently adapting the game in a way that whenever a player builds a home, they help contribute to a home for someone in need. “And I know this sounds like a lofty goal, and it is ridiculously ambitious, but today, our current operating model operates at a ten-to-one ratio. So for every 10 homes we build, we can build a home for someone in need,” she sums up.
TED TALK corner
Title: Sarah Murray: A playful solution to the housing crisis
Synopsis: Frustrated by her lack of self-determination in the housing market, Sarah Murray created a computer game that allows home buyers to design a house and have it delivered to them in modular components that can be assembled on-site. Learn how her effort is putting would-be homeowners in control of the largest purchase of their lives, as well as cutting costs, protecting the environment and helping provide homes for those in need. 
Noteworthy: Murray dreams of a future where sustainable housing is available for everyone and affordable for all. She’s building this future, with PLACE Technologies, a digital manufacturing social enterprise powered by the PLACE game, a computer game that allows players to design their own homes and have them delivered to them. For every ten homes PLACE builds, they will house someone in need.

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