What is shared living?

Co-Liv
Co-Liv
Mar 7, 2017 · 4 min read

Our global network of experts and operators is quickly expanding and we have been contacting co-living operators from around the world!

At the PUREHOUSE LAB, we are strong believers that shared living is a sustainable, affordable and flexible solution that responds to the housing crises that exist in so many cities throughout the world. The global failure to build low-cost housing has created a need for housing alternatives worldwide, making the demand for co-living quite high. Whenever we share ideas and conversations with our member operators, they often express the difficulty they have with keeping up with all the requests they receive to live in their spaces. As an alternative living model for ageing populations, young families, recent graduates and digital nomads alike, the attractiveness of co-living is gaining momentum.

When talking about shared living alternatives, the lines tend to blur quite easily regarding typologies. At the PUREHOUSE LAB, we try and study all types of shared living models and we think that there are important learnings from each of these models. A recent article in the Financial Adviser analyses several different models and asks, “Where We’ll Live in The Future”? Here are a few examples of shared living models given in the article:

Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC): “Over-55 communities and NORCs house 36% of U.S. seniors, according to AARP. They offer a variety of services, including yard work, household chores, transportation services, social programs — even health-care management. Monthly dues range from $100 to $1,000, in addition to the cost of the home itself. Some communities are apartment buildings; others feature mansions.”

Intentional communities: “Intentional communities are for people who identify with one another. The affinity could be based on any commonality — geography; history; vision; purpose; philosophy; or common social, economic and political interests. They are designed for sustainable living, personal and cultural transformation and social evolution.”

Co-housing: “When you buy a house in a co-housing development, the home itself is yours. It will probably be in a cluster and small (700 to 1,200 square feet), with cars parked on the perimeter of the community. The largest structure is the common house, which typically features a communal kitchen and dining area, as well as living rooms and parlors, a game room, library, gym, media room, workshop and hobby/craft room. When these units are new, buyers participate in designing the community’s grounds and features. Unlike in typical apartment and condominium buildings, there is no resident manager; instead, the residents work together to maintain the community.”

Shared Housing: “This is defined as elders (usually unrelated) living together for companionship. They typically share expenses. Shared housing is very common, accounting for about 4 million U.S. households, according to AARP and the National Shared Housing Resource Center.”

Ecovillages: “Ecovillages are for people concerned about the environment. Named by the United Nations as one of the world’s 100 Best Practices for Sustainable Living in 1998, ecovillage residents grow as much of their own food as possible, create homes using local materials, operate renewable energy systems, protect nature and safeguard wilderness areas.”

Housing Cooperatives: When “ a corporation owns both the building and your apartment. You therefore buy membership in the corporation; doing so gives you the right to live in a specific apartment”. The coop will “require you to submit to a background check and a series of interviews with other residents. If they don’t like you — they don’t have to say why — you won’t be allowed to purchase your home (uh, er, your membership in the corporation).”

Niche Communities: “Niche communities are designed for people who share a common identity. This could be union membership, artistic inclination, religious faith, sexual orientation — or even being alumni of the same university. Entrance fees range from $1,000 to $500,000 or more, and monthly fees can be thousands of dollars.”

The Village Model: “Some villages comprise just a few city blocks; those in rural areas might cover a 20-mile radius. Typical services include modifications to make your home accessible, transportation, meal delivery, dog walking, health and wellness programs, social activities, nurses and care managers. Most villages have 150 to 200 members. Entrance fees can range from $1,000 to $500,000 or more, depending on whether the price includes the cost of the property. Monthly fees range from $50 to $1,500. The average resident is a middle-class, 74-year-old woman.”

More examples of shared living exist (student housing, for example) and the lines blur even more when you take into consideration models that exist in different countries and cultures; even the terminology used in each country creates additional divergence in shared living typologies.

At the moment, the member operators in our network are involved in the “co-living” phenomenon, which can be explained as a company or organization that manages the spaces and provides additional services and amenities to its residents according to the rental fee. The governance, levels of engagement, services provided and provision of common and private space varies between each co-living space. We have come across a variety of co-living spaces while doing our benchmarks, each with different floorplans, onboarding policies, methods of curating community, pricing and size. We are an international community of experts and operators, and our proud to count as our members these awesome operators: 9Floor Space (Taipei, Taiwan), Coho (India), Mokrin House (Serbia), Sun and Co (Spain), Tech Farm (Stockholm), Cohabs (Belgium), Second House (Long Island), Magicville (Bogota), Swiss Escape(Switzerland) and many more!

Within PUREHOUSE LAB, these operators find: market intelligence and useful feedback from each other’s experiences, advice and assistance from the Lab’s experts, connections to funding, spaces and residents for the development of new locations. In the true collaborative manner, the PUREHOUSE LAB will publish best practices toolkits for the creation and operations of co-living spaces. Stay tuned for more information and in the meantime, join the community!

Co-Liv / THINK

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