Despite its growing popularity, many people are still unfamiliar with the concept of coliving, so let’s get to that first. Coliving is a very flexible term that can refer to one of many types of arrangements in which single adults, couples, or even entire families live together in a space that has at least some type of common area. You may be thinking that this sounds exactly like having a few roommates, and may in fact refer to an arrangement as simple as that. However, much of what coliving has come to encompass goes further and is inspired by the human need to live within a close group of friends in a shared community.
For 99% of the time humans have existed on this earth, we have lived in tight-knit community groups, and the situation we find ourselves in today (where we generally live with one spouse and children at most) is not at all for what evolution has prepared for us. So it should come as no surprise that many of us experience depression, anxiety, and a host of other mental illnesses. The fact is, we are simply not meant to live like this!
That’s where the concept of coliving comes into play. You, of course, have a private space that you can call your own, but you will share a variety of other spaces with your friends and neighbors. Details can vary greatly from one coliving arrangement to another, but everything from exercise rooms, laundry rooms, swimming pools, and even kitchens and living rooms, can become shared spaces where life feels more like a constant episode of Friends than it seems. like the lonely routine that many of us have to endure on a daily basis.
In addition to the advantage of quickly developing a community to belong to, living spaces also tend to be much less expensive and have many more amenities than regular apartments, and that makes sense. After all, instead of having each type of space duplicated a hundred times, many spaces are shared and this efficiency makes everything less expensive for everyone.
Coliving in Houston
If this all sounds tempting and intriguing to you, you are not alone. Spaces like these are popping up across the country and Houston is no exception. Perhaps the most notable example of this is CoHousing Housten. This new development plans, in its own words, “to create an inclusive, diverse urban village within the loop in the East End”. What that means in practice is that people of all ages, genders, orientations, ethnicities, and origins can live, work, and share many of the same spaces together. One of the best things about this project is that it is already underway, so you can come by and see for yourself what a coliving arrangement can look like.
Although the main drivers of the coliving movement have traditionally been community and affordability, this type of living arrangement has also been shown to have other beneficial results. Chief among them is the difference it can make for the environment. It is the latest concept of green life. I mean, just think about what coliving achieves. It allows more people to live together more efficiently in less space. By living in a group, people can realize small economies of scale that are not possible with the traditional housing model. Not only is the physical footprint of the buildings people live in drastically reduced, but all the accompanying ecological damage is also reduced. Electricity, water use and carbon dioxide emissions are significantly reduced in a coliving arrangement.
While there is no doubt that coliving does not suit everyone, it is also true that this new model of coexistence is gaining ground and our society has not yet realized the many benefits it offers. Even if the idea sounds a bit strange to you, it might be worth a good look. If having an integrated community, paying less in rent, and being respectful of the environment sound like things you’d be interested in pursuing, don’t let the social pressure of traditional society keep you from exploring this increasingly popular way of life.