Having adequate housing isn't a human right for no reason. Our homes provide a safe space where we can be ourselves and pursue our basic needs the way we like. But can this demand still be fulfilled when the world population continues to increase at a rate where living spaces cannot grow? Many people are investigating this question, which is reflected in the "Customized Co-Living" trend. When affordable housing is diminishing, especially economically vulnerable communities are affected. That's why people facing similar life situations are now striving to live together affordably. They do not only live together but reinvent living spaces that already exist and create innovative homes together for themselves and their fellow residents. Communities are being established while individuality is being preserved. This not only makes sustainable use of space but also fulfils the purpose of home as a safe space adapted to one's needs.
Co-living in a student complex: reimagining the traditional living space
“JVB EXPO is an exhibition about co-living at the Jacoba van Beierenlaan (Krakeelhof) student housing complex in Delft, Netherlands. It showcases Jacoba van Beierenlaan student housing complex, exploring its architecture, the everyday life and the diversity of collective practices.” Instead of letting big housing cooperation build new, generic apartment complexes, the students at Jacoba van Beierenlaan decided to reinvent their living spaces in a sustainable and cheap way, by using what they already had. They design their living spaces themselves based on the needs of all the residents, which involves a lot of co-creation and collective decision-making. This creates the opportunity to foster new, fun human interactions with your neighbours rather than discouraging them, like the traditional, self-centred way of living.
Commune provides co-living spaces for single parents
Commune is a French start-up that renovates buildings with low thermal efficiency and transforms them into sustainable living spaces specially designed for single parents with children on a budget. Each single-parent family that lives in a commune has their bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom, but shares a living space, a playroom for children, and a garden or terrace with other single-parent families. The rent, which is affordable for parents with an average income, also includes high-speed internet, multiple streaming services like Netflix, cleaning services, and more. Commune promotes the co-living of people in the same life situation and makes it easy for the inhabitants of the Communes to connect with each other and have a fun time together by providing shared rooms and organizing parties and social events. Each commune is unique (f.e. through exclusive libraries/chicken coops/pool), which allows interested single parents to choose a commune that fits their lifestyle the best. Currently, two communes are being built in and around Paris and will be available in 2023. Within the next decade, the commune plans to expand to 500 buildings.
The need for basic living conditions has been rising. For students, singles or low to middle-income households, living in cities has become dire. Individuality has been a great focus within a lot of Western countries. This trend is reacting to these developments by creating customizable communities for specific groups in need, like students, the elderly or single parents.
In the future, living spaces will become more personal, while limited space will also encourage coexistence with people who are in similar living situations. In order for this future to actually arrive, people must partially say goodbye to outdated images of life. Having a big house with a garden and a family of 4 is a romantic idea, but not necessarily a sustainable way of life in the future. The pressure to fulfill these expectations must be taken away by society instead of being encouraged, so that many people can continue to live happily in the future.