Dialog Box

Arts | Community | Social Justice
There Goes Our Neighbourhood
When politicians and property developers threaten to knock down Sydney's Waterloo and force public housing battlers to the edges of the city, the locals fight back: their war cry an ambitious artwork, the making of which will both unite and divide.

As city housing increasingly becomes a battleground between rich and poor around the world, in Waterloo, Sydney, 5000 residents face losing their homes in the name of ‘rejuvenation', colonisation by developers and their home ownership obsessed clients. Residents use Art as their weapon to fight back. Their ambitious project to light up their massive apartment blocks forces them to knock on 500 doors inside the iconic and much misunderstood high rise community, taking us inside the fascinating lives of those who live within them. #WeLiveHere2017 follows the all but impossible journey to illuminate the apartment blocks from within and the wider battle for Waterloo. The glowing towers unite - and divide - a community at risk of being extinguished forever.


How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?

Our film advocates for public housing to be on the public agenda and to influence policy that prioritises public and affordable housing.  

We believe that cities should be equitable for people who can’t afford to live in them. Our film will demonstrate that strong communities are ethnically, culturally and socially diverse and that diversity needs to be supported through compassionate government policy.

Aims & Objectives

What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?

> Bring the debate on public housing to the foreby generating coverage on both traditional andsocial media forums and reach a national broadcastaudience of 500,000 viewers.

> Shift negative perceptions of people who live in community housing by sharing positive stories of tenants in Waterloo, on social media platforms, through the film, and media outlets.

> Ensure that redevelopments of public assets in NSW are done with proper community consultation by highlighting the situation in Waterloo, giving the people living in the Waterloo community a voice, and advocating for their participation in the redevelopment of the precinct.

> Campaign for the fair treatment of the people who live on the Waterloo estate by ensuring that promises are kept to retain them in the area and that community services are a key component of the redevelopment plan.


What is your education and outreach strategy?

We plan to develop an educational resource that explores through the spectre of Waterloo, the ethics of urban renewal projects, the right to a home, the impact of policies that determine housing affordability and housing for vulnerable groups in society.  

The We Live Here film will: 

> create a study guide which will be targeted to the volunteer teachers of ethics in schools across Australia.

> continue to work closely with academics and activitsts from various organisations who are monitoring Waterloo and similar communities who are documenting forms of urban resistance and protest as well as the impact of redevelopment on these communities.

> activate discussion in the media on the social impact of dislocating people from their community, and perhaps shift the rationalised economic argument that the government so often lead with in relation to urban renewal.

 > stage public debate around the social purpose of architecture, reaching out to broad audiences to critically consider and momentarily transform the architecture of the site before its demolition. 

Clare Lewis
Carolina Sorensen
Total budget
57 Minutes