Co-Living Spaces: Living As a Service

An interesting concept by James Scott and The Collective, covered by Jessica Mairs for Dezeen:

Home ownership is set to become a thing of the past, according to the entrepreneur behind London co-living start-up The Collective, because socially liberated millennials are more likely to choose “living as a service”.

The Collective’s chief operating officer James Scott said that the changing housing needs of Generation Y – who are settling down later, if at all – is leading to a future where everyone is “homeless”.

The idea in itself is interesting to think about, especially considering the rise of co-working spaces even in my own town.

Scott’s vision and reasoning behind “co-living” goes pretty deep:

“Where previously we moved straight from adolescence into adulthood, we now take our time to become more socially liberated and culturally diverse, experimenting to find out what – and who – we love, before committing to it in adulthood.”

”Suspended adulthood” is leading to the success of the co-living movement, claimed Scott, where developments with built-in co-working spaces, restaurants and gyms appeal to young renters seeking convenience without the commitment of buying...

”The median age of marriage has shifted from 20 to 29 in the past 40 years,” he added. “This suspended adulthood and the rise of the digital nomad result in an increase in mobility and a reduced desire to settle.”

Also interesting to think about. It’d call “suspended adulthood” a subset of the overall millenial mentality and lifestyle, which, if you think about it, is gradually shifting what it means to be an adult.

The Collective opened the world’s largest co-living space in west London earlier this summer.

The co-living start-up is now developing an app, allowing the 550 inhabitants of its student halls-style housing complex to communicate, and is set to open a 400-desk co-working space on site in September 2016.

Sounds like they’re pretty serious about it. While Scott’s vision is admirable and understandable to an extent, I don’t think the market is for something that radical, unless the prices are really justifiable. Something tells me that isn’t the case, especially considering the premise that people nowadays don’t like commitments — I’d figure financial commitments are pretty high up the list of ones people don’t like the most.

So, I took a look at their website for Old Oak, the recently opened co-living space referred to above. It starts from £250/week, almost 62,000 Php monthly, and that covers "Rent, bills, council tax, wifi,” and “cleaning”. They also promise "No deposit or hidden fees”, so it sounds pretty straightforward — I’m sure that’s the point.

Exploring the website, I found myself realizing it’s basically a really big co-working space, only with beds and kitchens, and you live in it and never have to leave. Sounds fair, until you see how microscopic the actual “twodio” apartment unit is. I’m guessing the reasoning here is that you’re paying for the environment and access to amenities more than anything else, including the actual living space. (Also, while access is made a selling point, it can also prove to be a major wallet drain if you’re looking to avail of the other paid services to attain the “full co-living experience”.)

I think there are too many tradeoffs here people won’t be willing to make just yet. Or I could be underestimating how fed up people have become with the current housing market. We’ll see.

Source: Dezeen