The Home in the Digital Age: Home Renaissance Foundation latest book

Joy Malala headshot
Dr Joy Malala
Academic Lawyer, Home Renaissance Foundation

The home is considered a place that offers security, a safe haven, where relationships are nurtured and where we form our identities. The home is a place we hope can be peaceful and filled with love where our values are galvanized.  Home is perhaps one of the most resonant words. Without a place we can call home is a tragedy, and an intrusion into this space an indignation. It is therefore unsurprising that the home has been the focus of the last year following the ongoing global health crisis.

From the collective messaging to ‘stay at home’ both from the World Health Organization’s recommendations to nations’ official government directives, the home has certainly emerged as the lynchpin to save lives and a guaranteed exit out of the pandemic.

The ‘digital’ by contrast, is viewed through a novel lens, almost as if it is science fiction, its breadth and depth still not fully understood, yet it continues to transform our world, how we interact and communicate, how we learn and construct knowledge, to how we live our lives inside our homes. The impossible is not only possible but predictable and foreseeable. While many works have in the past dealt with digital technologies, very few have discussed their impact and influence on the home. The discussions on technology in the home have tended to focus between a spectrum of cleaning robots, to pessimistic predictions about the future of work. 

Additionally, the dependency caused by screens among young people and concerns about privacy. These headline concerns are often responded to superficially, and the real lives, needs and anxieties bypassed. What is needed most is a clear conversation about the ethical considerations and framework that will allow the future of “digital homes” and human dignity in housing decisions to be seen as a whole. Something I know that is central to the Housing LIN’s current TAPPI Inquiry.

The discussions in this book combine the technological dimension with the psychological, cognitive, emotional, cultural and symbolic dimensions of the objects that incorporate digital technologies and project them onto people’s lives. For instance, the effects of smart objects in smart connected and digitally controlled homes, is evolving as an area of important study that should be people centered. Architect and designer-led discussion of “Contested Homes in the Age of the Cloud” and the “Design Shift in the Digital Age’’, offers timely and applicable insights into the decisions and issues at stake. From the challenges in the use of domestic robots and connected devices which are built and negotiated in the home to artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, big data and other branches of digital technologies.

Contributing authors offer a coherent approach to a people centered digital world for both the academic and professional with ideas and arguments that bring unity to the home in the digital age, and an approach to creating an ethical framework in which homes can thrive.

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If you found this blog of interest, you can also read a range of other resources on Housing and Technology on the Housing LIN’s dedicated TAPPI & TECH webpages here.

Lastly, if you would like to find out more about how the Housing LIN can support your organisation develop your housing for older people strategic vision and/or operational plans to meet the future accommodation and technologoical needs of older adults, please email us at:


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