It’s good to see more effort going into the classification and defining some direction so I applaud you for your attempt. 👍

However I see you arguing against yourself rather, «a freely chosen lifestyle» may be to live with others on a boat. Or to go from place to place together every x weeks, or just once a year for a bit. Which you have precluded, so I disagree about “primary residence” being a defining factor.

As I’ve previously written here on Medium (albeit not behind the paywall per yours), I do wholeheartedly agree there is a point at which intention is destroyed—notably shorter durations. But one cannot say there is a definite point nor define it as that disallows variety. If everybody goes to Roam for 7 days with the intention of doing things together, it’s (still) a coliving. Likewise if somebody is staying 3-months only for the room not the community. In your space that may not happen, in others it may.

Primary residence is certainly a very significant factor — in the largest segment and one that will be unbearably enormous in the future. But is not defining for all segments. Narrowing it down beyond a wide ranging movement attempts to repurpose the term despite it clearly going in many directions.

Some of which are positively horrible from the perspective of anything community-oriented, and in fact I’ve become disinclined to to use it much at all. I’m even seeing coworking spaces tagging posts with coliving despite not offering any, which suggests it’s just a contemporary lifestyle alignment that will be co-opted more, and not a long-lived movement that can be well defined.

My preferred definition (overlooking specific word choice!):

A coalesced group of individuals [a community] having the intentions to pursue activities together, whilst investing more time in their shared space than private.

This does not mention the form of accommodation yet excludes most house and flatshares which are a growing category in which landlords and agents are arguably mis-using the term. They should at least try though. If it doesn’t work out then they’re bad colivings.

I’m currently in favour of the following in terms of high level differentiation vaguely focussed on scale, duration and workspace.

Coliving home — a regular shared house/apartment
Coliving residence — at scale (there’s probably a better word)
Coliving camp — ephemeral space (intention is there!)
Coliving hub — workspace is the common purpose

Yes there’s overlaps between them, and you could have a coliving hub camp. But these kind of defined variations allow much greater freedom of experimentation in the movement, and for the generic term (and movements) to evolve however it will.

Such a definition includes can include ownership. In comparison with cohousing I would say coliving has much more intention of doing things together. (The Collective has for example, studios, is it coliving or cohousing? Why not both?)

Nomenclature and taxonomy are interesting but really it’s all about how and why people are using it, not what it is. 🧐😁

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Peripatetic Brit, entrepreneur, software architect, designer, devil’s advocate; into resilience, communities, coworking/coliving, smelly cheese… jacobjay.com

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