In 1919, the Government created the Addison Act, a move that made individual housing needs a national responsibility and aimed to provide good quality housing for working people. 100 years on in 2019 the state of our housing is not only a national crisis, but a national scandal.

The abject failure of our government to provide affordable housing for everyone has led to a country where the value of the UK’s private rental sector is greater than the GDP’s of over 100 countries around the world. It is a speculative and out of control business. Our city Bristol is particularly affected. Inflated property prices and rents, an acute housing shortage and lack of investment has led to the increased displacement of citizens and a sense of loss of community.

Bristol was reminded of the dire situation it finds itself in as third year BA Hons Graphic design students took to the streets to express our collective distain. Our intention was to make visible the extent of the housing crisis across Bristol and more broadly the UK, showing we are no longer happy for the politics of our property to be left for the market to decide.


The Addison Act of 1919 allocated resources to building houses and was the catalyst for the modern council estate. It attempted to provide good quality homes for middle and working class people.


House prices have risen 56.5% in 10-years, faster than any other major UK city. Rents have risen by about 25% in four years. It is more expensive to rent a home in Bristol than in any of the other core cities. Last year Bristol council helped 721 “statutorily homeless households”, double the number five years ago. The number of homeless households living in temporary accommodation has more than tripled in six years.


“For the oppressed, housing is always in crisis... Where and how one lives decisively shapes the treatment one receives by the state... No other commodity is as important for organising citizenship, work, identities, solidarities, and politics... There is a conflict between housing as lived, social space and housing as an instrument for profit making” - In Defence of Housing


This is big, extra large, jumbo, mammoth, super, this may be in size or graphic impact. Think city scale, building scale. It must be seen from a distance but temporary and removable.


A site-specific outcome is designed for a specific location, if removed from that location it loses all or a substantial part of its meaning.

With thanks to artists and designers Ben Thomas, Sandy Suffield and Laura Mortimer; Paul Smith from Bristol City Council; Melissa Mean from Knowle West Media Centre and Aidan Cassidy member of Acorn and Dawn Dyer from Bristol Central Library Artspace Lifespace. Special thanks to Fenner Paper for their paper sponsorship. Project developed by Conway and Young and Colum Leith in their roles as Senior Lecturers on the UWE Graphic Design BA.

The Bottom Step

The property ladder is missing the “bottom step”.

Snakes and Property Ladders is a game that can be played, but is near impossible to win. It represents the ongoing struggles of getting onto the property ladder. The broken ladder and the mass of snakes, displays how every time you progress in the dream of buying a home, you are constantly pushed back down by a system stacked against you. The work is accompanied by ‘For Sale’ signs, representing the ways in which housing is anti-social, with high costs and low standards.

We believe the ladder is broken, we need to find new alternatives that enable all to live together fairly today.

Leuca Smith
Rosie Bond
Alis Butten
Cameron Lodge