The Rising Trend of Co-Living Spaces
By now, you've already heard about coworking. But there's a new concept on the way: Co-living, which is, in a sense, the coworking euqivalent of finding housing. A trend that's been quickly embraced by young people in cities across the country, co-living is a new answer to the age-old issue of affordable housing. It's also an ideal way to continue your professional and personal growth outside of the office.
While co-living might seem like a foreign concept, it might just be the perfect way to find a community that's just right for you.
What is co-living?
Co-living is the trend of living with many other people in one space that encourages its residents to interact and work together. They are most often run by companies and have popped up in response to the huge number of young people moving to expensive cities in search of work. Co-living is a new kind of modern housing where residents with shared interests, intentions, and values share a living space where they're almost like a big family.
While you might be imagining a hostel, dorm, or hippie commune, this version of communal living is designed with young, working professionals in mind. While it could feasibly work anywhere, it remains a mostly urban trend at the moment, with residents sharing a house, building, or apartment.
Is co-living the same as coworking?
Co-living and coworking are similar in terms of more than just their names. They are both based on collaboration and community and they take a novel approach to daily activities, whether it's how we live or how we work. Many coworking spaces like WeWork are now adding co-living to their options, and a great deal of the co-living spaces around the world include coworking as well.
While they are not the same concept, they share key aspects that skew towards young users. They're also both poised to completely reinvent the way we think about working and living.
Why is co-living so popular?
The rise of co-living comes from many factors, including engaging amenities and the enjoyment of living with others who share similar interests. Unlike some communes, those who choose co-living do not separate themselves from the world outside of their living space; they interact normally with the world while choosing to live with like-minded or like-interested individuals. For this reason, you can find co-living spreading across the world. There are co-living spaces in the United States as well as in cities around the globe, with several companies offering multiple locations around the world.
Its popularity also comes from the fact that many people want to be around others—it's easy to just open your door and start a new friendship or even a business. Other benefits include a reduced financial burden, community support, group activities, and a sense of belonging. Co-living currently appeals mostly to younger generations, especially digital nomads who want to be able to travel and don’t want to worry about a mortgage.
Exploring co-living spaces
There are now hundreds of co-living spaces of all shapes and sizes around the world. The Collective, founded in 2012, offers both co-living and coworking in London. They offer 546 rooms spread across 10 floors, featuring a movie theater, a library, a gym and a restaurant, plus a shared kitchen on every floor. Sun and Co., meanwhile, is based out of Javea, Spain in a 19th-century home with the option of shared or private rooms.
Some companies are a bit larger and boast multiple locations. Roam operates outposts around the world in places like Bali, Miami, Tokyo and San Francisco. All rooms come with private bathrooms and include cleaning services. Common offers a similar deal in six U.S. cities. WeLive, WeWork's new co-living brand, offers communal spaces in New York and D.C. that split the difference between hotels and apartments—tenants can stay for a few nights or months at a time.
Services that connect users with spaces have also popped up in recent years. Berlin-based Medici Living raised $1.1 billion last year to beef up its co-living platform. CoWoLi, too, tailors its services to digital nomads who want to travel the globe and need help finding the right co-living space.
Is co-living safe?
Co-living spaces are just starting out and the concept is completely new to many people, so concerns regarding safety, scams and practicality are completely valid. Keep in mind, though, that new concepts can become the standard—AirBnb, for example, was considered odd until it disrupted the entire hospitality industry. While each space varies, as long as you do your research you should be fine.
Look up each company online to ensure that they have active websites and that they are legitimate businesses. When visiting potential homes, explore the space and imagine how you would feel coming home to it every day. Consider the specifics, especially if you prefer a private room, an open kitchen, or amenities like a gym and a pool. Meet and chat with people who live there to find out their interests and how they like co-living at the property.