What is co-living and why is it becoming more popular?

Just a couple of hundred years ago, where and how people lived looked very different from how we see society dispersed today. Rather than striking out on your own and moving halfway across the country, or perhaps the world! People used to live and work together in villages. Tight-knit communities which were reliant on people working together in order to function. Generally speaking, you probably would have both been born and have died in the same town. Most of your daily interactions would be confined to that of your relatively immediate surroundings, aiding in forming lasting and diverse relationships over the course of your lifetime.

Whilst we are no longer reliant on this level of collaboration, we have identified the lack of community’ as having a detrimental effect on our lives. According to health insurer Cigna’s 2018 report, it was found Loneliness affects 46 percent of U.S. adults, who report sometimes or always feeling lonely. What is perhaps even more concerning, is the rising number of young adults reporting this. Defying the assumption that millennials and Gen Z are ‘overtly social’. It would appear they are not meeting their interpersonal needs either online and off.

Coliving has emerged as a response to both the loneliness epidemic and the housing crisis. Defined as a modern form of shared living for like-minded people to live, work and play together. People reportedly feel a stronger sense of community and purpose from said arrangements. 

In 2020 the way in which we live is much more choice based now than in the past, which was heavy needs orientated. So-called conscious communities or intentional living is on the rise. There are many flavors of co-living depending on the kind of experience you choose to have. Ranging from modern hackerspaces fully equipped with gyms and super-fast wifi to the more sustainability-focused ‘return to nature’ communal-style living, an antithesis to apartment block city dwelling.

“CoLiving is the movement that enables people with common interests to share communal spaces and live together. Anyone who has experienced this new way of living knows that the interaction, community and the people behind it are real and passionate.” 

Some potential benefits of co-living include:

  1. Strong core value systems – coliving environments encourage values such as openness, collaboration, and socialism. 
  2. Kinder to the Earth – There is frequently an Eco association to coliving spaces. Perhaps due to the common association with 1960s activist-led communal living which seeks to rebel against the establishment. Although more importantly than this there is a positive correlation with those who foster a more conscious approach to living generally and that of more responsible waste management/food usage.
  3. A more supportive environment for raising a family –  It stands to reason that children raised in a cross-cultural community can gain a much more diverse and openminded perspective but it also can help alleviate some of the duties of parenthood, by sharing childcare responsibilities.
  4. Pesticide-free crops – Ok, so not every co-living community has the inclination or ability to grow their own food but for those who choose to live off the land than having more control over the quality of their food is a huge pull.
  5. Group activities held in close proximity to where you live – Your friends living really nearby vastly improves your social life. How many plans get canceled due to the effort of actually getting somewhere? Exactly. One of the reasons for the longevity for occupants of blue zones is that longstanding friendships are formed, providing a strong social support network. This element can be a really wonderful part of community living.

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