Coliving of the Future
The way we live has changed over time; homes evolving to adjust to the different needs and wants of people.
In the 1950’s, homes were usually two bedrooms in size, with one bathroom, a kitchen, a small living area and a separate laundry out the back. By the 1960’s the car industry was booming, meaning people were able to live further out of town; homes increasing in size with an added garage. In the 1980’s, two-story houses became more popular and by the 1990’s more and more people began moving into the city, with apartments building homes upwards and residential housing areas sprawling over the country.
But what will our homes of the future look like?
Ada Zeng, wrote an article discussing the future of our urban communities and the role coliving has to play. I will discuss some of the key points she made below:
1. What coliving represents
Coliving is a result of the growing transition to urban living, paired with the desire to combat social disconnection through providing an alternative to the traditional, and often isolated, form of living. It’s core concepts are communication and cooperation, with shared communal facilities such as a kitchen and dining room, alongside your own private furnished personal spaces, with flexible leases.
2. Coliving as a solution
With the want for more flexible working spaces and hours, and as the housing crisis presents itself dramatically, placing large amounts of stress and pressure on day-to-day living, coliving presents a solution. It targets inner city affordability and also encourages economic productivity and provides a robust community, contributing to a more sustainable and fulfilling way of living.
This is significant as it acts to help the increasing populations who are wanting to live in towns and cities realise their dreams, despite increasing living costs and stagnating wages. It is a new way to solve the problems of urban density, housing un-affordability and transport accessibility.
3. The growing sustainable way to live
The way coliving spaces are designed promotes and encourages sustainable living in greener buildings. They reduce energy use and resource consumption, with improved building quality, cleaner technologies and the incorporation of pioneering environmentally-friendly designs, cutting down on carbon emissions.
Coliving residents are encouraged to become environmentally motivated, with things such as composting and recycling initiatives, clothes swaps and the sharing of physical tools and resources. Some coliving spaces, such as Mini Living, have adopted gentrification measures, transforming unused paint factories into places to call home.
As these numerous benefits of coliving become apparent, and people are increasingly rearranging their working and living spaces to build more collaborative environments, coliving spaces are popping up everywhere. There’s UKO in Stanmore, Base Commons in Melbourne, WeLive in New York, lfy in Singapore and Roost in Toronto. Each new “productive infrastructure and living model” takes encouragement and example from their counterparts around the world, adopting and reshaping their own communities to suit their own areas and specific environments.
4. Coliving renters are members of a community
Rather than the traditional leasee role, coliving dwellers are members of a community, where getting involved in different events, activities and communal living is encouraged. This comes at a time where one of the biggest age brackets in the Western world is those of the ages between 18–34 years old, and this population is looking for flexibility and social belonging instead of the high costs and permanency of owning a home. Coliving offers low housing costs, close to inner city work places, with flexible contracts and a myriad of opportunities for making new like-minded friends. It is diversifying the way to live.
5. Coliving is productive infrastructure
Coliving establishments are being built along transport corridors, resulting in people’s homes being closer to their working place, saving time and increasing economic productivity. Coliving developers are currently focusing on areas where there is rental stress, but there is also space to provide this alternative form of living in regional suburbs where we are seeing a housing shortage as well. Urban justice will need to be enhanced for all demographics.
Coliving clearly has numerous benefits, empowering social connection. What do you think the benefits are? Do you see any challenges in a future where coliving is more prominent?