Coliving in the shared economy

Coliving, perhaps the hottest trend after co-working, is being fueled by the rise in a shared economy. Spearheaded by millennials– students and young professionals alike, the concept means different things to different people. Coliving spaces, are nothing but shared accommodations providing plug-n-play rooms with facilities & amenities such as in-house cooks, wi-fi, laundry services, security etc. It offers freedom and flexibility, without the hassles of long lease or high rental charges. It also offers the residents an opportunity to use common spaces for co-working, networking, and building community.

Coliving addresses the gap between the traditional PG rentals, with their limited amenities and the expectations of the younger generation. Expectations of living in comfortable and well-appointed spaces in central locations, along with access to a variety of amenities, at a price point which does not make a huge dent in their pockets.

Though envisioned for millennials, co-living is also popular among Gen X and baby boomers. Often referred to as coliving 2. 0 and sometimes, seen as a new approach to retirement, the difference lies in the dimensions of the living quarters and the amount of privacy it affords. Apart from being an excellent solution for economic housing, these spaces also impart a sense of community and belonging, positively impacting the growing sense of isolation in today’s ever-connected world.
Currently, coliving is anyone’s game. Many realtors are actively exploring the trend and offering co-living spaces with a wide variety of amenities. Companies like WeLive offer flexible leases, pre-furnished apartments, with a host of amenities aimed at the young urbanite, while Node is aimed at a slightly older demographic or coliving 2.0 audience. Grexter provides options for both students and young professionals, while Upstart Creative Living, provides affordable coliving options. Ikea’s offshoot Space10, researches and develops concepts on how people will live in cities in the future, including shared living spaces.
That said, coliving does come with its own set of challenges. There is a considerable investment involved in making a space attractive as well as functional. If the rent is increased in proportion to the increase in investment, there is a possibility of residents reverting to traditional facilities. The rising cost of residential units is also another factor that might have a negative cascading effect.

As cities get more populous, space will get scarce and housing will pose a challenge. Today’s shared economy provides a possible solution and a possible peek into the future where, options such as coliving, will be more of a norm rather than an alternative.

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