What is Coliving?
Coliving, a term gaining prominence recently, refers to a modern form of communal living. This real estate trend is mainly popularized by housing startups that offer affordable shared living spaces for five or more adult roommates. These spaces can take various forms, from renovated single-family homes to high-rise buildings converted into dormitory-style lodging. Coliving often involves short-term or flexible leases and added perks such as cleaning services, professionally furnished common areas, and inclusive amenities. However, it’s crucial to recognize that coliving, in a broader sense, can encompass anything from intentional communities to simple roommate arrangements.
Exploring Coliving Arrangements
The spectrum of coliving arrangements is diverse, catering to different preferences and lifestyles:
Informal Shared Housing
Groups of individuals come together to share a lease and furnish a home. They are typically formed through platforms like Craigslist or personal networks.
Resembling college dormitories, these spaces consist of private bedrooms and common areas, accommodating many residents.
In cooperative housing, residents collaborate on tasks like cleaning and cooking, democratically governing the space with elected leaders.
Originating in 1960s Denmark, co-housing communities feature multigenerational homes with shared green spaces, fostering a sense of community.
Intentional communities are often located in rural areas, where members share political and spiritual beliefs or practice self-sufficiency.
The Rise of Coliving: A Global Perspective
Coliving’s popularity is attributed to various factors, including economic challenges and changing societal norms. The U.S. Census notes a decrease in young people living alone, with factors like the 2008 housing crisis and student loan debt making solo living financially challenging. Coliving provides an attractive alternative in global cities like Hong Kong, where space is limited and living costs are high. Similarly, in competitive real estate markets like San Francisco, New York City, and London, coliving emerges as a viable option for affordable shared housing.
Benefits of Coliving
The appeal of coliving lies in its affordability, convenience, and community aspects. Shared living reduces costs compared to renting individual apartments, and coliving spaces handle time-consuming tasks such as setting up utilities and furnishing. For recent graduates and those seeking to expand their social circles, coliving offers a turnkey experience, eliminating the hassles associated with traditional moves.
Understanding Co-Living as a Lifestyle
The concept of co-living extends beyond traditional shared housing, encompassing a sense of community, sustainability, and collaborative economy. Originating in Denmark in the 1970s, co-living has evolved into various forms, ranging from mere physical sharing to communities that share values, interests, and philosophies of life.
Coliving and Entrepreneurship
Coliving has evolved into a lifestyle choice for millennials, especially young entrepreneurs. Beyond traditional shared spaces, coliving supports entrepreneurship by providing an environment for sharing ideas, knowledge, and experiences. The advantages of coliving for entrepreneurs include knowledge sharing, networking opportunities, synergies for collaborative projects, and the flexibility of weekly or monthly leases.
Embracing a Sustainable Lifestyle
Coliving developments often spring up in city centers, promoting walking, cycling, or public transport. They prioritize renewable energy and minimize plastic use, aligning with a sustainable lifestyle. The global nature of coliving environments, with residents from different backgrounds, further enriches the overall experience and promotes a sense of global community.
Diverse Concepts and Examples
Various companies, such as The Collective, Projects, WeLive, and Common, are driving the growth of coliving globally. The United States leads in coliving investments, with the availability of coliving spaces expected to exceed 83% by 2021. Developers set specific requirements for joining these communities, offering a range of options from shared flats to entire buildings, each fostering a unique sense of community.
Coliving’s Evolution: A Look Ahead
As coliving continues to evolve globally, its impact on housing trends, social dynamics, and entrepreneurship is undeniable. With diverse options catering to different preferences and lifestyles, coliving emerges as a compelling solution for those seeking affordability, convenience, and a sense of community in an ever-changing world.