Coliving may be one of the least explained buzz words of 2016. Few recent cultural references around coliving capture the imagination in the way it should… hippie communes and dorm rooms provide a too easy visual. Yet, the concept remains an integral and game-changing part of the future.Sharing both intellectual and physical resources continues to enrich the way we live by giving us more options in how we move, live and work.
One of the main misconceptions around coliving is the lack of definition around how much of our daily routine is shared with others. While a we/me balance is usually innate, the hustle and bustle of modern living has swayed the natural rhythm leading to more people wanting retreat and privacy. Social researchers have divided these privacy needs into acoustical (can we hear each other?), visual (can people see me?) and territorial (how much space is only for me?). The number of people living alone in the US between 18 to 34 has increased ten-fold since 1950. Yet reported happiness has not increased. Can coliving provide solutions to increase overall quality of life? What is the added value of this integrative concept to the future of happiness?
1) Together is Better (and easier)
An ideal together/alone balance follows the 60/40 rule. 60% of your time spent engaged with others will leave you upbeat and inspired, both personally and professionally. Roam public spaces are built to support innovative sharing and cross-collaboration. For example, a state-of-the-art kitchen brings a new appeal to communal kitchen prep for a dinner party. Or a poolside deck can lend itself to an impromptu group yoga session at dusk. Co-living simplifies the framework around these spontaneous gatherings, as traffic and travel times (and headaches) are eliminated from the scenario.
2) Plug in and recharge (alone time)
For the 40% of your time that is happily spent alone, Roam coliving provides a spacious independent bedroom and bath space, with the luxury amenities you would find in a boutique hotel. The ease and peace of mind you get from this plug-and-play setup lends itself to rest and recharge, as you don’t have to worry about the details of care-taking of an entire house or apartment. This freed mental space easily gives rise to more plans and exploration, such as checking out the street markets in Madrid or the art scene in Miami. When you are already burnt out, these activities can feel like more mental overload.
3) Same likes same (like mindedness)
You may have felt you were living communally at times in your city apartment… hearing neighbors through the walls, the dog or even the radio from the street. This intrusive living ends up being more draining than culturally stimulating. By choosing to live in a global community you are selecting like-minded thinkers to connect with. These are people that derive joy from travel, exposure to new cultures, and who are forward thinking in terms of their career, choosing freedom as a work lifestyle. Living and collaborating together can nurture a strong micro-culture.
4) Sharing is more than caring (it’s freedom)
Sharing amenities that have traditionally been the responsibility of a single individual marks a major shift in adult living. Eliminating maintenance of household appliances, technology or supplies minimizes time spent on chores. If we were to take into account the time taken to fix the washing machine, buy printer ink or organize your files, you would probably find a good 20% of your time is spent doing things you don’t particularly enjoy. By sharing resources you can access hassle-free living, giving more space to activities you truly enjoy.
5) Less is more
In order to keep co-living spaces spacious yet intimate, priority is given to the broader framework, making sure that all functional needs are met in a streamlined manner (think luxury kitchen, optimal work space, beautiful lounge areas). Once basic needs are met (and then some, such as the 400 thread count sheets at Roam London), you will find less need for other “things”. You begin to trade ownership of things for experiences, and you begin to live in accord with what really matters, which does not lie in excess material possessions. This way of co-living could not be called minimalist or maximalist, but perhaps qualitative-ist, where the necessity of an item depends on how much it enriches your quality of life.
As coliving continues to expand as a viable and desirable way to live, our social living expectations will continue to transform to adapt to to these new trends.