Unreal Estate: Digital Design and Mediation in Marketing Urban Residency
In the Nordic countries, web-based simulations are now widely used as an addition to the print-based marketing and exchange of domestic properties. Our interest in this chapter is to analyse how domestic dwellings are mediated online via digital representations. These representations draw on a range of digital tools and simulations of their professional uses in architecture, urbanism and web design. We approach these representations as mediating artefacts that clearly ask consumers to engage in an imaginative rendering of the unbuilt. The digitally designed and digitally mediated artefacts project not simply visions of the unbuilt, but envision what is to be built. In many cases they also include properties as having been sold prior to physical construction. We situate our analysis within the practices of buying and selling real estate. The digitally mediated exchange of such properties falls within the ambit of advertising discourse. This is a discourse that has persuasion as its primary aim. It seeks to draw and direct the activity of users towards the pre-purchase of future dwellings; an activity that is not merely a material one but also imaginary.