Shared living is hardly a new concept, humans have gathered in tribes, boarding houses, and communes for millennia. But a fresh, more intentional form of communal housing is on the rise: coliving. This model brings together private bedrooms or partitioned spaces with extensive shared amenities and community programming.
In recent years, coliving has exploded in many major cities as an alternative housing option with a built-in social network. Driven by financial, cultural, and technological shifts, coliving is resonating with millennials, remote workers, and an increasingly transient, urbanized population.
In this article, we’ll explore the unique benefits and criticisms of coliving compared to traditional apartments. We’ll analyze the demographic, economic, and technological forces fueling the model’s growth. And we’ll speculate on what the future may hold as coliving evolves and expands.
While coliving has its tradeoffs, this new breed of communal, flexible, shared housing is filling gaps left by outdated real estate norms. As more people embrace minimalism, affordability, and community over space and ownership, coliving is poised to disrupt the status quo. The model’s rise hints at shifting lifestyle priorities between generations.
So what does the proliferation of coliving reveal about the future of housing and community? Let’s examine the forces propelling this phenomenon and why shared living is here to stay. For a deeper dive into the world of coliving, its history, benefits, and future prospects, check out this guide on SharedEasy.
Benefits of Co Living
Convenience and affordability
One of the main draws of coliving is the convenience and affordability it offers. By sharing living spaces and splitting costs, you can often find coliving accommodations in desirable neighborhoods that would normally be out of your individual price range. This makes it easy to live near your workplace, entertainment, and amenities you want access to.
Coliving properties take care of furnishings, utilities, WiFi, and other basics, so you can move in without much hassle. You don’t have to deal with deposits, leases, bills, and other administrative tasks. Many coliving companies also offer flexible month-to-month arrangements rather than long leases.
Community and social connections
For many, a huge advantage of coliving is the built-in community. There are always people around to socialize with in shared kitchens, lounges, gyms, and outdoor spaces. It’s an easy way to make friends and feel less isolated, especially if you’re new to an area.
Coliving operators often organize community events like dinners, fitness classes, game nights, and outings. You’ll be surrounded by like-minded people with shared interests and values. There are opportunities for networking, mentoring, and collaboration if you choose roommates who work in your industry.
Amenities and shared resources
Coliving properties come equipped with lots of amenities you’d have to pay extra for in a traditional apartment. Fully stocked kitchens, gyms, spas, theaters, game rooms, gardens, and workspaces are just some examples. Household necessities like cleaning supplies, tools, and small appliances are available to use.
You don’t have to furnish, decorate, and equip an entire living space yourself. The convenience of all these shared resources is a major bonus.
Flexibility and mobility
With short-term leasing and amenity-rich, move-in ready rooms, coliving offers increased flexibility. It’s a convenient option for those with temporary work arrangements, frequent travel, or unsettled housing needs.
If your job relocates, or you want a change of scenery, coliving makes it easy to move to a new city and settle in quickly. You can join properties around the world, try out neighborhoods before committing long-term, and meet people wherever you go.
Sustainability and environmental impact
Shared resources, reduced consumption and waste, energy efficiency, and green building practices make coliving more environmentally friendly than conventional housing.
With less square footage per person than separate apartments, coliving spaces use substantially less energy for heating and electricity. Shared transportation options also reduce carbon footprints.
Many coliving operators use sustainable construction materials and follow green guidelines. Choosing coliving is an eco-conscious lifestyle choice for environmentally minded renters.
Challenges and Criticisms of Co Living
While the benefits are clear, co living also comes with some distinct downsides to consider.
Privacy and personal space
For those accustomed to living alone, the lack of privacy and personal space in a coliving setting takes adjustment. Shared bedrooms are common in higher-density properties, and you’ll be sharing bathrooms, kitchens, and other amenities.
It’s important to set boundaries with roommates and find a balance between community and time alone. But you give up a certain level of solitude and independence inherent in having your own apartment.
Noise and disturbances
Closely linked to privacy issues is the problem of noise in shared spaces. With many residents using common areas, it can be difficult to avoid disturbances when you want quiet. Kitchens, lounges, and hallways can be loud or chaotic depending on your housemates.
Walls between units in coliving properties tend to be thin. You may deal with sleep disruptions from neighbors entering and exiting rooms. Lifestyle differences also mean some residents stay up later or sleep differently than you.
Compatibility and conflicts with roommates
Not all roommates are created equal. You may end up with housemates who have radically different cleanliness standards, schedules, personalities, or living habits. Some coliving companies screen applicants or group them based on traits like profession and age to optimize compatibility. But clashes can still happen.
Navigating interpersonal conflicts and compromising are par for the course when sharing space. But major incompatibilities can make the arrangement unbearable.
Safety and security concerns
While coliving companies conduct background checks, residents are still essentially living with strangers with access to shared spaces and belongings. Valuables can go missing and misunderstandings can escalate. Women, minorities, and other groups may encounter harassment or discrimination in certain properties.
It’s crucial that coliving operators enforce strong security policies and community guidelines. But some safety risks exist given the transient and public nature of these spaces.
Lack of long-term stability
Lastly, coliving provides less housing stability than a traditional lease. Operators can increase rates at short notice. There’s little stopping them from selling properties or changing amenities. Neighbors constantly coming and going can undermine the community.
If you’re looking to settle down long-term, buying or renting may work better. Coliving works best for those with more transient or flexible lifestyles.
Evaluating the Trade-Offs
Coliving presents unique advantages along with equally distinct challenges. Weighing the benefits against the drawbacks comes down to lifestyle needs and priorities.
For mobile urbanites seeking temporary housing with a built-in community, coliving offers major upside. But the model involves clear trade-offs in privacy and personal space.
The shared approach won’t appeal to or suit everyone. But understanding both the positives and negatives helps determine if coliving is right for your situation.
The Future of Coliving
The modern coliving industry is still young, but where might it be headed next? Some likely directions include:
Expansion and diversification of coliving models
We’ll see continued expansion of coliving centered around major metro areas, college towns, resort destinations, and more. Unique models will emerge to serve various demographics, like families, empty nesters, and travelers. Mainstream coliving brands will diversify their offerings.
Integration with other housing solutions
Lines will blur between coliving and other flexible accommodation like hostels, senior living, student housing, and extended-stay hotels. Hybrid models that combine coliving with coworking, childcare, healthcare, etc. could arise. Coliving will integrate with the broader world of proptech.
Collaboration with local communities and governments
To address housing shortages and reduce costs, we may see more public-private partnerships between coliving providers and cities. Coliving could be integrated into affordable housing initiatives and urban planning efforts. Guidelines and regulations will adapt.
Emphasis on health and wellness
Future coliving spaces will incorporate more wellness features like spas, fitness centers, meditation spaces, healthy food options, outdoor access, and programming around mind/body health. Community and environmental health will also gain focus.
Integration of smart home technology
Coliving operators will leverage smart home tech like digital access control, automation, AI, VR, biometrics, and data analytics to increase security, efficiency and community. Shared spaces will have next-gen connectivity and amenities.
The coliving industry has grown rapidly in a short time but is still evolving. By anticipating needs and innovating, coliving providers can scale responsibly and sustainably. The global appetite for flexible, community-driven living is only increasing.