Co-Living: A Culture of Community Here to Stay

What does it mean to live together? During the pandemic, I’ve been pondering this question as my family and I lived with extended family in the suburbs. I certainly had more green space and square footage in the burbs but it came at the cost of having to rely on a car, not having a gym, and not seeing people even near my age. Of course, as a designer, living together takes on a totally new meaning. Designing spaces that foster a sense of warmth, a sense of privacy, as well as a sense of community is no simple task.

Since the pandemic, while people have migrated out of cities, others have migrated out of their solo arrangements to co-living spaces. I mean, who wants to go through shut-down alone? Co-living is becoming increasingly popular as a refuge for those needing more community and seeking the conveniences of a city-block, shrunk into a single building.

In the last few years, the term co-living has permeated cities across the globe from Berlin to San Francisco to Sydney as a real estate development phenomenon. Co-living spaces are move-in ready residences consisting of various sized apartments that have a copious amount of shared spaces. These spaces include gyms, dining areas,bars, offices, home theaters, as well as other home-like amenities. In addition, many incorporate innovative technology, and usually have a community coordinator to create events to amp up the fun. The best (or worst) part is that often individuals don’t know their roommates until they move in. However, before long, this living community can easily become your extended family.

Sound like college, Part 2? In some ways, it can resemble the on-campus experience. However, co-living buildings are a far cry from dormitories on both structural and social levels.  For a recent multi-family project , I combined the co-living framework along with my hospitality design lens to create a residential oasis, inspired by cultural and community history. Not to mention, I made sure it offered creative ways to socially interact.

For a specific demographic, (typically 24-37), this flexible model is ideal. Co-living is a lifestyle that comes with a range of flexible options from lease length, to furnished apartments, and health and wellness amenities. This living style is a great option for someone willing to explore a new city, and looking to meet new people; all without having to pack, move or pick out new furniture. (As you all know, moving is the pits!)

For millennials and future generations, co-living is going to be a constant housing fixture, especially in cities and metropolitan areas where housing is unaffordable. This living style will appeal to those who crave an exuberant, communal experience. For developers, if hotel occupancy rates don’t increase, it offers a good framework to pivot into, as work and living spaces coalesce.


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