Caroline Neel, Maya Pruitt
We use augmented reality to showcase the lack of afforable housing in the Lower East Side
New York is becoming progressively more unaffordable, with more than half of New Yorkers considered rent-burdened (spending 30% or more on rent alone) and rental prices rising while median household income remains stagnant. Neighborhoods considered “affordable” are often those in affluent areas, where the rents are still high, but the median income is comparatively higher, and so people in those neighborhoods can easily make rent payments. A bit of renter’s trivia we found especially interesting is the 40 times rule, which states you must make forty times the monthly rent per year in order to qualify to rent an apartment. The only way to subvert that rule is to have vast, provable savings, or a guarantor who makes 80 times your monthly rent. The 40x rule leads to a stark comparison between neighborhood rents and the median household incomes of the neighborhood’s inhabitants.Maya and I were interested in intervening in a public space, but wanted to make sure that our intervention was legal, unobtrusive to the people who lived in the neighborhood, and not easily destroyed. Taking these issues into consideration, we decided that the medium we wanted to work with was augmented reality.