Is co-living an answer to the affordable housing crisis?

housing crisis.jpg

(Edoardo Busti, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Peter Oosterveer, Chief Executive Officer, Arcadis


Co-living has become a popular topic in housing development circles as the building industry contemplates new residential delivery models. This March at the international property industry event MIPIM in Cannes, discussions on co-living in France were being held, some in the mainstream program and others privately at various industry lunches and dinners. Most agree it’s a housing concept that is getting increased airtime and gaining traction.

 

I have engaged with a number of commercial developers in discussions around affordable housing, the advent of co-working and the preferences of the millennial generation, which include co-living. Interestingly, most commercial developers recognize the changing interests of millennials, with co-working advancing to become a well-accepted commercial development model. Co-living, meanwhile, also appears to be making some inroads, particularly in delivering student housing and in highly densified cities. Co-living serves as a modern form of housing, whereby residents share values, interests, aspirations and living spaces. It establishes a balance in which members feel there is no compromise between space, privacy, location, productivity and fulfilment. Outside these niche residential markets, it appears that co-living new build is still evolving and is not yet an accepted mainstream housing delivery model – but that could be changing.

An obvious solution

In March, we launched a startup incubator in Amsterdam with Techstars, and one of the 10 startups currently under development is founded on the premise of applying digital technology to facilitate co-living. The startup is called Kndrd, and instead of addressing the new build audience, it focuses on property owners and building portfolio managers who may want to adapt their existing properties to accommodate the growing short-stay housing needs of business travellers. It’s a fascinating outfit that has developed its own co-living management software, and sees itself as a digital platform that offers “housing as a service”.

Christine McDannell, co-founder and CEO of Kndrd and author of The Coliving Code, is quite bullish on the trend, and writes, “Co-living is absolutely the leading answer to our global urban housing crisis. Not only does it solve the cost and spatial demands associated with housing, but it also addresses the intimate aspects of human connection that have been lost. Loneliness rates have doubled in the past 10 years, and rent costs have gone up much more than that. It’s very rare that a single solution can solve a complex multi-pronged issue like housing, but co-living truly does. We’ve built the technology platform to unite people globally by linking them to homes with complete efficiency in this otherwise fragmented industry […] It’s time that housing became as automated, flexible and on-demand as Uber – what I like to call ‘housing as a service’.”

Image: Kndrd

As summarized in the graphic above, Kndrd recently produced a report about the current state of the co-living industry, based on a 62-question customer survey and with more than 10 countries represented. The top findings are that the average minimum stay is 58 days; co-living facilities have functioning websites but are not fully satisfied with them; while on average, these facilities have been in business for 1.8 years. A surprise takeaway from the surveyed group identified an unmet need for tech solutions such as shared digital platforms and the need for better facility promotion.

The role of tech

According to McDannell’s book, The Coliving Code: “There are so many benefits to shared living space that it’s amazing that it hasn’t been done at scale before. Of course, technology has helped us in this respect. Advances in the way we communicate and how we organize our lives have helped the co-living initiative take hold. There are so many ways you can take advantage of the current and future tech to make life easier. Co-living is an important one of these that deserves to be explored in more detail.”

Stepping back from the digital age, I recall that New York City, during its period of rapid population growth and vertical urbanization, utilized an affordable housing model called “single-room occupancy” (SRO). The SRO residential model was built around shared living for cooking, bathing and other common areas, with smaller private sleeping quarters for its residents. SROs could be rented for short-term stays, and many evolved into a long-term housing alternative. If this can work in NYC, one of the most densely populated cities in the world, it might be worth considering.

Other global cities, like London, are also looking at different housing models that will appeal to millennials as they enter the housing market. Whatever happens, the question of how we address the working and living needs of all citizens in a city’s future deserves increased consideration and digital enablement.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

EU job-search aid worth €2 million for 500 former shipbuilding workers in Spain

India’s economy is growing fast, but its poorest areas lag behind. Here’s why this could be about to change

Future of EU farming: MEPs push for modern common policy with fair funding

3 ways firms can master the digital challenges of the 4IR

Embracing the diversity in a multicultural city of Romania

The role of medical students in promoting women’s rights

Venezuela: European Parliament calls for additional sanctions

UN highlights importance of skills development on World Youth Skills Day

Inflation down to 0.7%, unemployment up at 12.2%: Bad omens for Eurozone

Employment and Social Developments in Europe review: why social fairness and solidarity are more important than ever

17 ways technology could change the world by 2025

Human health – litmus paper for the climate change?

Mozambique cyclones a ‘wake-up call’ to boost resistance: UN weather agency

UN human rights chief regrets closure of Burundi office following Government pressure

After the Italian ‘no’ and the Brexit, Germans must decide which Europe they want

“Decisions taken in the coming weeks will shape Europe’s experience of the internet”, Joe Mcnamee from EDRi says live from European Business Summit 2015

Here are what UNESCO considers to be remarkable new World Heritage Sites

Coronavirus: Commission lists key steps for effective vaccination strategies and vaccines deployment

Cyprus President urges collective leadership to address ‘root causes’ of world’s crises

End ‘cycle of violence’ in Gaza, UN deputy chief tells forum on Palestine

Pedal power makes ‘positive impact on climate’, urges UN on World Bicycle Day

Historian Niall Ferguson on what the pandemic means for the global economy, geopolitics – and parties

UN underscores the need to celebrate indigenous peoples, not confine them

What is the Coral Triangle?

Asylum seekers in Sri Lanka fear for their safety, in wake of Easter Sunday terror attacks

This warehouse is one of the world’s greenest industrial buildings

EU and 15 World Trade Organization members establish contingency appeal arrangement for trade disputes

Greta Thunberg at #DavosAgenda: Here’s how climate experts responded to her speech

Statement by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría on the outcome of COP 25

Deepfake democracy: Here’s how modern elections could be decided by fake news

Why leaders need to upgrade their operating systems

The New Year 2016 will not be benevolent to Europe

Trump reshapes the Middle East at the expenses of Europe

MEPs want to boost energy storage in the EU to help spur decarbonisation

A refugee from Syria cries out: “I’m not just a number!”

Companies can help solve water scarcity. Here’s how

Building trust: Here’s what you need to know about The Davos Agenda 2021

Italy’s dilemma after Merkel-Hollande agreed loose banking union

Global Trade Identity can be the cornerstone of paperless trade

Coronavirus: a cultural escape goat or the next Big Five

8 fascinating and fearsome frontiers of science you should know about

South Africa’s cabinet is now 50% women for the first time ever

Brazil must immediately end threats to independence and capacity of law enforcement to fight corruption

Release of prize-winning Reuters journalists in Myanmar welcomed by UN

EU approves close to €240 million to strengthen resilience in neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees in light of the coronavirus pandemic

UN urges ‘maximum restraint’ as Israel-Hamas tensions rise over rocket attack

WhatsApp to face scrutiny from EU regulators task force over data sharing with Facebook

Climate change: What is COP26 and why does it matter?

Asylum: MEPs call for more solidarity among EU member states

How to build a digital infrastructure that benefits emerging economies

Here’s how businesses can make the circular economy a reality

5 ways students can graduate fully qualified for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

What is behind the wide reach of  fake news about Coronavirus?

Telemedicine in Brazilian favelas: The medicine of social isolation transforming public health

The Commission breathless behind the horsemeat scandal

COVID-19 is a threat to waste pickers. Here’s how to help them

World Migratory Bird Day highlights deadly risks of plastic pollution

Rohingya emergency one year on: UN says thousands of lives saved, but challenges remain

5 amazing schools that will make you wish you were young again

4 ways to build a net-zero economy by 2050

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s