An emphasis on building communities can be heard throughout the real estate world.

The rise of co-working and co-living is at the heart of this push as individuals (often referred to as digital nomads), are on the move for work. With this nomadic status comes the desire for a place to call home where they are surrounded by likeminded individuals — even if only for a week or two.

So, why did the co-revolution lead us to Lisbon last month?

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Our Lisbon journey started at the Web Summit, where over 60,000 delegates from more than 170 countries came together for what Forbes described as an event that “creates collisions between start-ups, investors, and others so they share insights and forge relationships”. …

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The property sector has watched Airbnb with intrigue for quite some time — Leigh Gallagher, Assistant Managing Editor at Fortune magazine, was quoted stating that Airbnb has the “cocktail party factor”, in that, whenever the company is mentioned, everyone has an opinion.

The company crashed onto the scene in 2007 with one of the most powerful social, business and cultural disruptions the property market has seen, maybe ever. Since then, the founders have gone from renting their own mattress out to cover their rent, to owning a company which lists more than 3 million lodgings in nearly 200 countries, worth $31 billion.

But for me what is most interesting is the company’s latest move into the branded apartment sector — the organisation’s first attempt to specifically create Airbnb-branded accommodation, in an effort to broaden its revenue streams.

Airbnb’s relationship with owners of apartment complexes has been a difficult one. To address the frequent tensions between building owners, residents and Airbnb hosts, the company launched a revenue-sharing scheme two years ago, which allows apartment buildings to collect part of the revenue from Airbnb rentals — the initiative can be seen as a way of ‘making nice’ with landlords. But it also comes at a time when real estate developers across the world are changing their approach, and their offerings, to adapt to the rise of the “sharing economy”. …

The media lit up recently when U+I launched its compact living solution for central London. In a bid to combat the unaffordability of homes in Zone 1, the scheme proposes mini flats with a floor size of either 19 or 24 square metres built in blocks with shared communal areas. Research suggests building just five blocks of the micro properties in each of the nine London boroughs could provide 4,770 extra homes in the centre, providing a possible solution to the affordable housing crisis which exists in the capital, if of course the homes are affordable…

The scheme has already been met with some criticism. Although more people than ever seem to be prioritising location over space, the size of these properties has come under fire. I recently read an article about micro-properties being the equivalent in size to one tube carriage, which had the same theme; can people really be expected to live in such small homes? …


Charlotte Steedman

Founder of Conductor Marketing —

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