chapter  2
27 Pages

Homes and Gardens

Henry and Boyd agree, though, in seeing architecture and design as carrying cultural meaning. Of all items of popular culture, Australians spend more money on housing than on any other commodity. Houses, however, are 'goods to think with' (to paraphrase Levi-Strauss) as well as 'goods to live with', and meaning and function are often indistinguishable in practice. In houses that range in price from $30 000 to $200 000 the basic function of providing shelter is equally well served. It would be conservative to estimate, then, that at least half of the monthly mortgage repayments paid by the average Australian home owner goes towards sustaining meanings, rather than keeping out the rain.