Co-living: shared housing in the Digital Age!

Co-living is a concept of shared living, where there is an integration of conscious people who share the same space, exchanging experiences and respecting nature. 

Sharing housing is fastly gaining popularity thanks to rising rents and changing lifestyles with a mutual sense of helping each other and taking care of nature.

Co-living is a movement that is spreading all over the world. It is happening not only in big cities but in small communities as well. The concept was conceived by german architect Alexis Dornier, who described it as “a model of micro-society".

The co-living project is simple and objective. The demands vary according to the size of the shared home spaces. Therefore, the standard model is just about the same for any location. 

Communal layout

The architectural design tends to center around a small kitchenette shared between two small en-suite bedrooms located off long corridors. If needed, there are also some private suites, for the fancier millennial.

Internal areas

These rooms are similar in terms of structure, such as the collective kitchen, laundry room, and communal living rooms. Other shared areas - in which residents can meet others, and build on the community feelings - include a co-working space, a restaurant, a gym, a cinema, a spa, and a launderette.

External areas

There are spaces including an organic garden, living areas, open reading places, as well as a playground.

The co-living management

The sharing housing is managed through councils. In these boards, tasks are distributed according to a particular area. In other words, the management is a kind of collective governance, formed by a board of trustees. 

People of all ages live in co-living, including retirees, mature couples, young people, professionals, the self-employed, and digital nomads.

An open mind and solidarity consciousness ensure harmony in shared spaces!

5 basics of the co-living movement:

  1. Harmonious community - The gathering of people and the exchange of ideas generate mutual trust and shared responsibilities.

  2. Saving natural resources - Practicing community environmental education is a common goal for all residents.

  3. Division of decisions and tasks - The decentralization of tasks generates mutual respect in joint decisions. The board of directors is formed by volunteers.

  4. The standard layout of the building - The co-living space is designed with solar panels, water reuse systems, and other modalities aimed at saving natural resources. 

  5. Solidarity and Accountability - If by chance, a resident arrives late or needs to be away for a few days, their duties will be shared until they return. 

Co-living in some countries:


Collective housing has its Danish roots, from the family housing cooperatives of the 1960s. This arrangement became known as a “moniker”, slightly different from co-living. That is, the structural idea is the same, like joint housing, growing your food, and taking care of other responsibilities. The biggest change was the digital ease of these present times.


In Berlin there is the "Quarters", a company specialized in co-living that has branches in New York and Chicago. It recently announced a US$1 billion investment to build in other locations in the United States and Europe. The company's slogan is "selling a dream lifestyle to the modern, flexible and creative worker who has said goodbye to the desk!"

German architect Alexis Dornier described the co-living complex in Ubud as "a model of a micro-society." Residents rent serviced bedrooms with private bathrooms and have access to communal rooftop lounge spaces and sunbathing deck, a swimming pool, shared kitchen, cafe, yoga area, and a barbecue garden.


In London, fashion is expanding, as co-living fans pay a relatively low monthly rent (around a thousand pounds/month). New co-living projects are also being implemented in the outskirts of the British capital. The trend is for the system to "go viral" in Western Europe.


A co-living located in Nagoya contains 13 bedrooms with 7.2-square-meter spaces. They are arranged around voids that contain shared open-plan living, dining, and kitchen areas. The design was a response to increasing demand in Japan for houses where unrelated individuals share kitchens, living spaces, and bathrooms.

For Hannah Wheatley, housing and land researcher at the New Economics Foundation, "co-living is resurfacing at a right time, where entrepreneurs can take advantage of an already outmoded real estate market."  

Internet is considered responsible for the so-called "Age of Loneliness". It got worse due to pandemics. Co-living became a way of living that can reverse this trend. Could this new moment be the beginning of the "Age of Communities"?

Co-living is for people who connect lives that aim to support ecological issues accordingly to ethical principles.
Actually, co-living systems resemble what goes on in the anthills, where everything works well due to an organized, disciplined, and orderly environment.

Co-living means living in a harmonious coexistence that takes place in an environment where people share the same space, principles, and experiences.

Architects and other paired professionals point out that connections of aligned people are fundamental for new ideas based on co-living principles.

Thus, due to the exponential rising costs of living and working in big cities have forced architects to become more creative in their approaches to housing the millennial population. 

A major step in recreating smart projects that gather individuals with the same aiming in order to make a better world now and for the next generations.

By Marco Veado - THINK GREEN