A defender of coliving


Coliving is not without its opponents. In the New Zealand housing climate, some people believe coliving spaces are really only just, “flash” adult dorms or expensive boarding houses. People state they do not present an innovative solution to the super high rents and house prices we are seeing. Others argue investors are only interested in cohousing developments because they are extremely profitable forms of housing development due to the minimised living space, and closer density of people.

But there are also those who argue in defense of coliving; their voices focused on coliving being a positive, community centered project. For example, Elise Badger wrote that coliving could offer a “creative solution” to the housing crisis we are facing.

She pointed out:

1. Coliving nurtures a deeper connection to the community.

2. There are many practical advantages of coliving and it can develop in many forms, depending on the environment it is built within. This shows flexibility to suit people’s wants and needs.

3. Coliving spaces provide common areas where you can interact and socialise with others. These spaces could be rooms such as kitchens, living rooms and dining rooms. Outdoor living and shared garden areas are also commonplace. Alongside this, your own private areas are provided, where you can relax in your own company. Thus, coliving works for both the introverts and the extroverted.

4. Coliving encourages multi-generational living. This allows families to all “live under one roof;” where adult children can move back with their parents, saving money and older parents can live with their adult children, combating loneliness and isolation increasingly seen within our western culture.

5. As our modern way of living becomes more disconnected with the pull of individualisation, coliving reconnects us.

6. Coliving changes up the urban landscape from a “suburban sprawl,” to a community of shared spaces.

7. Coliving is intentional and interactive living, enabling you to lead a fulfilling and connected life.

8. With communal use and sharing of supplies, spaces, and material possessions, people’s carbon footprints can be reduced.

9. If a family pool together their financial resources, it becomes more possible to purchase land or a home in the tough housing climate of New Zealand.

10. A similar point comes with those who rent. Coliving offers a creative and often less expensive solution, ensuring everyone can find a place to call home. People now have more choice on where and how they choose to live.

11. Sharing supplies also saves us money. When everyone lives in their own separate homes, everyone will have their own individual material possessions, such as lawnmowers and tool boxes. In coliving situations, everything can be shared, reducing the need to own one of everything.

12. Within coliving spaces, “a burden shared is a burden halved.” With every single day offering opportunity to work with others and to share with others, a richly connected community evolves. Badger wrote about deep, meaningful conversations by the washing machine, gardening with neighbours, her children running around with other young people, potluck dinners shared after a long day, and big summer barbeques utilising outdoor living, the sunshine and each other’s company.

To conclude, Badger believes that coliving can offer many solutions, combating — not just the housing crisis, but the increasing isolation and divide seen within western cultures, as well as offering a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly way of living.

What do you see as the positives of coliving?

Samantha Mythen