As a trend forecaster I’m familiar with reading, and writing about co-living, it’s definitely a ‘trend’, there are more people doing it, but I’d like to challenge much of the narrative that describes it.
In Los Angeles, about a dozen young adults live together in one large house called Synchronicity LA. There, they make art together, hold salons, divide up chores, and trade off cooking communal meals four days a week. “It really feels like living in a big family,” Grant Hoffner, a longtime Synchronicity resident, told me. (The Atlantic, Sept 2016)
Here is where I think we need to get some clarity around ‘Co-living’ vs ‘Community’’ - because the two are really quite different and the people who choose them are driven by different needs and motivations. There’s no doubt that some people choose to live together and are perfectly happy hanging out, making art and growing organic vegetables (think Community), but I think, that for the majority of people who are living together, it’s actually a huge compromise and the only way to make ends meet.
I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of reporting on the ‘co-living dream’, but I can safely say that from my own experience and through having conversations with other ‘like minded’ people who are also co-living (and over the age of 24), there is nothing appealing about it other than the affordability. Most of us are dreaming of the day that we don’t have to wipe our flatmates pubic hair off the bathroom floor or fight for space in the fridge.
Top tips for co-living survival from a self-confessed OCDer:
A power hour with a bottle of bleach can help ease the quease
Buy your own rubber gloves
Disposable wipes are bad for the environment - but a bottle of spray and industrial sized kitchen roll will do a good job with little effort
Flip-flops in the shower - for particularly bad days
Add a dash of mindfulness practice (also highly trendy) and you’ll be arranging communal art sessions with your fellow flatmates before you