Co-meet but don't commit: a brief look into Co-living

Co-living

The idea of creating a family, buying a car and owning a house is getting more and more deconstructed. The volatile jobs and the lack of ability to commit make life decisions such as housing and relationships follow a ” no strings attached” philosophy.

The idea of creating a family, buying a car and owning a house is getting more and more deconstructed. The volatile jobs and the lack of ability to commit make life decisions such as housing and relationships follow a ” no strings attached” philosophy.

No strings attached, no purchase agreements signed, this generation does not want to commit to a house for a long time since the future is a mystery and more interesting life options can appear. It seems that houses are no longer seen as life goals, but simply as a permanently changing stage in life. The digital nomads are here, there, everywhere and nowhere, and for them the destinations and experiences are considered as main goals. Millennials suffer from what we can call the “switcher syndrome”, they like to turn on and turn off everything as they please, and the truth is they can. Compared to buying a house or an expensive studio, sharing a flat sounds like a more “easy to enter, easy to leave” option.

But is not just the lack of commitment that makes sharing a flat sound like a good solution. Concepts like Co-living are changing the way we perceive flatsharing, making it sound less evasive and unpleasant. It spices things up, twists the traditional idea of flatsharing and turns it into something appetizing. Ever so slow the fear of sharing a flat with difficult flatmates will disappear giving space to a nice communal experience based in mutual respect, where privacy is in a symbiotic relation with sharing. An affordable nice private rented room with shared common areas, can release us from the pressure of complex purchase contracts but also from solitude.

Does all of this indicate that we are facing a new group of “disposable” tenants, or wiser and more aware residents, not obsessed with the idea of owning?

The idea of working all our life just to own our privacy, that can turn into isolation, to build walls and settle some ground floor, vanishes. The way we idealize and build houses, and how we choose to live in them, is already under evolving metamorphosis. We share our life maybe more than ever, shattering, or simply changing, this way the strict lines between  private and communal possession. We share car rides, books, working spaces and everything we evaluate as shareable. Brands like Uber or BlaBlaCar and co-working companies seem to strongly feed on this trend of “using without owning”, which is quickly growing in urban environments.

Does all of this indicate that we are facing a new group of “disposable” tenants, or wiser and more aware residents, not obsessed with the idea of owning?

Let’s understand how co-living and flatsharing are key concepts for the Co-generation, a generation of communication, community and sharing.

 

What is Co-Living after all?

Some doubts might appear when we try to understand this trendy concept, is the growth of co-living a proof that we figured out that “no man is an island”, or is it simply an  adaptation to present day society, where the lack of economic independence does not allow us to  don’t be “co”? And what would have to change in order to make housing more appealing?

First we need to understand that co-living changes the way we perceive the idea of home. Houses stop being roots and become bridges instead. Bridges to contact with others, to learn more, to develop soft skills or even to make business related deals. Co-living and flatsharing are all about being alone but not lonely. Tenants get to preserve their personal space, their privacy, while inserted in a supportive community. These communities strengthen their sense of belonging, making them feel included in some group.

As we can see, co-living looks up to “community” as its main key idea, using its principles and purposes. “Community” is defined by the Cambridge online dictionary as:

“the people living in one particular area or people who are considered as a unit because of their common interests, social group, or nationality”

Based in New York, Common, “a membership organization building social, flexible, community-centric accommodations for shared living “, says in its website  that “Living at Common means you’re always invited and never obligated”. Inside a community generated by co-living you are free to participate in multiple group activities and events, however knowing that if you prefer, you can simply enjoy your time alone. You belong to a group without anyone owning your time or personal space.

“In the future we will all be homeless”

James Scott, chief operating officer of The Collective, a co-living start-up based in London, as quoted in Dezeen, referring to a presentation in Tech Open Air Festival in Berlin, has an interesting look into the co-living question. Scott says that “in the future we will all be homeless”. Maybe we will be ”homeless”, but with a home full of people: strangers in the beginning, friends or acquaintances later.  Scott talks even about a “Suspended adulthood”, since nowadays there is a special focus in experimenting and experiencing the world before we commit to our future self.

After all it looks like the so called “Me Me Me Generation” turns out to also be an “Us Generation”. Maybe this is not a fast trend, but instead this is a new long-lasting way of looking at our life: a shared life in a shared flat.

Ready to start your Co-living experience or simply want to know more about this concept? Check how you can Upgrade your internship with a Co-living experience or visit Student Room Flat’s website.

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