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In the ever-changing landscape of urban living, co-living has emerged as a compelling alternative, reshaping the way we perceive communal spaces and challenging traditional housing norms. As we stand on the brink of 2030, the sharing economy is poised to revolutionize our homes, driven by a confluence of factors such as financial pressures, the rise of digital nomads, and the imperative to construct vast urban areas to accommodate the growing global population.

A Historical Glimpse: Before delving into the trends and challenges of co-living in the near future, it’s essential to trace its roots. Co-living, a broad term encompassing various forms of non-familial shared living arrangements, has historical precedents dating back to ancient communal living practices. From shared housing in ancient societies to the boarding houses of 19th-century New York, co-living has taken diverse forms shaped by societal needs and economic considerations.

The Resurgence of Co-Living: Fast forward to the present, where co-living is experiencing a renaissance. The soaring urban property prices, coupled with stagnant wages, have fueled a surge in rental markets globally. The modern co-living movement can be traced back to 1960s Denmark, with Bodil Graae’s visionary article advocating for communal living arrangements. However, it wasn’t until recent years that co-living transformed into a billion-dollar industry, attracting investors and startups alike.

Evgenia Barinova

Contemporary Co-Living Models: The face of co-living today is diverse, ranging from hacker houses in San Francisco to luxury co-share complexes like ‘The Collective’ in London. The ‘co-living for hipsters, not hippies’ mantra underscores the industry’s evolution from grassroots movements to commercially-driven ventures. Companies like WeLive, FounderHouse, and Common are capitalizing on the demand for shared spaces, offering a mix of private rooms and communal facilities for a premium price.

The Vision for 2030: As we approach 2030, architects and urban planners are grappling with the challenge of designing spaces that cater to the evolving needs of co-living communities. The ‘ONE SHARED HOUSE 2030’ survey, initiated by design duo Anton and Irene, provides insights into the preferences of potential co-livers. Surprisingly, the data challenges the current market trends, highlighting a desire for more autonomy in selecting housemates and a vested interest in communal ownership over paying rent to management.

Architectural Considerations: Successful co-living spaces of the future demand a shift in design thinking. Drawing inspiration from user experience (UX) processes, architects must prioritize simplicity, human-centric design, and sustainability. The case of Roam’s international co-living network exemplifies how thoughtful design can encourage communal interaction, fostering a sense of shared responsibility and community.

Diverse Futures: While the current co-living landscape is dominated by for-profit models, the future holds potential for diversification. Initiatives like the Lange Eng co-housing community in Denmark showcase a family-oriented approach, emphasizing a balance between private, semi-private, and communal spaces. Platforms like PurehouseLab are actively working towards inclusivity, affordability, and sustainability, aiming to bring co-living into the mainstream as a formalized housing typology.

Amsterdam co-housing
Amsterdam co-housing showing Kollontai. Image: Anton and Irene


As we stand at the cusp of 2030, co-living is more than a housing trend; it’s a cultural shift. The sharing economy’s influence is reshaping the way we perceive community, space, and ownership. Architects, developers, and communities must collaborate to create co-living spaces that not only meet the demand for shared accommodation but also reflect the evolving values and preferences of the inhabitants. The journey into the future of co-living is marked by a commitment to inclusivity, thoughtful design, and a deep understanding of the diverse needs of the individuals who call these shared spaces home.

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