As coworking explodes in popularity, its parallel movement, co-living, is being touted as the next disruption of surplus space. At its essence, co-living offers shared living space and amenities, more housemates than the typical roommate situation, access to a network of properties, and flexible lease options that allow long and short-term residents to live side by side. You could think of coliving spaces as new fangled boarding houses often with purpose, travel, mutual support, and community mixed in.
The Ultimate Guide to Co-Living, recently released by co-living company Outsite, delves into the co-living movement (the guide hyphenates “co-living”, whereas the coworking movement, and other “coliving” projects do not) in an effort to educate readers about what the movement is and is not. As Outsite founder Emmanuel Guisset writes, “We decided to take a deep look at co-living: the past, present, and future of this industry we are proud to be a part of...Whether you’ve considered living in a co-living space or have never heard the term before, this guide will give you the information you need to understand this movement – not trend – in the housing industry.”
In 2012, Shareable pioneered coverage of the co-living movement noting that it had the potential to move from the fringes of society into the mainstream like coworking. The growing popularity of the movement makes sense. Rather than live or travel alone, you can connect with community-minded people, meet other travelers and locals, collaborate, and share ideas and resources, all where you’re staying. And importantly, you can often live this attractive and flexible lifestyle for less money. Some new co-living companies target millennials and young digital nomads with modest means, but co-living is a movement that was built by, and ideally includes, people of all ages and lifestyles.
Coliving.org describes the purpose of co-living to “create a home environment that inspires and empowers its residents to be active creators and participants in the world around them. These environments cultivate collaboration and serendipity amongst residents and the extended community. Coliving houses enable sustainable lifestyles through sharing and efficient use of resources and space.”
The website defines the residents of coliving spaces as “people who want a home environment that actively supports them in living with purpose and intention” and adds that those who choose co-living include “professionals, makers, entrepreneurs, artists, and creatives.”
The Outsite guide provides a brief history of co-living, but surprisingly fails to mention co-living pioneers Embassy Network or Open Door. It also focuses on lifestyle co-living for traveling urban professionals and digital nomads, rather than long-term co-living communities that create, and sustain, their communities together.
The guide looks at data and trends surrounding “modern co-living,” compares co-living models and types, offers a directory of co-living locations, provides a day-in-the-life glimpse into the life of a resident, offers tips, tricks and etiquette suggestions, and points to a bright future for co-living as accommodation, not a “trend or fad that is going to disappear in a few years.” As Guisset writes:
Between the plethora of providers currently offering co-living spaces in every corner of the globe, and the massive interest that residents from all professional backgrounds and lifestyles show, co-living has appeal and support that will help establish it as a unique but valuable form of accommodation. Residents may stay anywhere from a few days to a few months, but the concept of co-living has a permanence that will last for years to come.
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