Entrepreneurship and Innovation have been the key drivers in developing cities, companies and societies. Throughout the years, we have seen how people have changed paradigms of what they believe is common parameters, turning them into attractive and ground-breaking realities. And here is where the importance of entrepreneurs and their strategies to innovate relies on, in order to turn opportunities into new ideas (Hisrich, et al., 2008).
With the demographic growth of people looking for a better job opportunities and quality of life, has led to a lack of housing -and working spaces- in cities such as London, New York or Los Angeles. This has brought individuals to rethink the way we use living spaces; giving rise to entrepreneur being interested in giving solutions to these problems. And here is where, I believe, Entrepreneurship and Architecture have found a way of relating each other, through the development of innovation and transformation of shared spaces, especially in the concept of co-living (Ardis & Cooper, 2018).
But, what is co-living and how it solves the problem?
According to Atif Shafique (2018) in his report ‘Co-living and the Common Good’, co-living is a form of housing that combines private and living space with share communal facilities. Unlike any other type of shared living space, in co-living, residents share a set of interests, values and/or intentions among each other (Scott & Scott, 2005). But co-living is not a new concept; it has been around of centuries mainly seen with a social aspect for people in need.
The rise of co-living spaces - a progeny of the co-working movement- comes from many of the same trends including the real estate industry, changes in the job market, and demographic factors for the millennial generations. As described by The Collective, pioneers of this new property format in the UK, co-living is “a way of living focused on a genuine sense of community, using shared spaces and facilities to create a more convenient and fulfilling lifestyle where you are able to find similar people with whom to make friends, create and work together” (The Collective, 2018).
Co-living Spaces (The Neighbourhood, 2019)
For a generation that has grew up with technology, social media and sharing economy; co-living spaces is not a bad idea, since they are highly adaptable and much more willing to share facilities. It’s about their social activity, as a pantry does not represent for them a working area but a networking spot, and a lobby is more of an activity- based space (JLL, 2019). The high demand for these places shows the number of millennial looking for this type of housing, similar to the reasons behind the popularity of co-working space, a generation looking for flexibility, openness and collaboration. All this, together with the fact of our cities becoming denser and expensive, it seems like this concept of co-living is addressing some of the issues around urban living.
Apartments are shared among 5-6 people, mostly, with a kitchen and bathroom incorporated. This allows start-ups to offer a higher number of rooms to rent, for less square meters than a common flat. But this is not what their value proposition is about. It is the creation of common spaces and places to share that is promoted through events and activities of social relationships among tenants: adding value to people’s life.
Co-living Spaces (Financial Express, 2019)
Such factors are driving the growth of co-living: it is not very expensive to rent, it includes all utilities and furniture and a community to taken care of. The big question to follow would be what’s next, when these millennial have grown and how they will overcome the challenge of adaptability in other cultures where this concept might not really work?
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