What’s the Difference Between Co-Living and Co-Housing?

Two up-and-coming buzzwords in the worlds of residential real estate and property development marketing, co-living and co-housing draw upon the best of historical traditions and new trends to create shared living environments and communal spaces.

There is certainly nothing new about shared living spaces. Offering co-living home options in major cities that span the United States, the residential property firm Common points out the fact that people have chosen to live in shared spaces since before the dawn of recorded history. From the hunter-gatherers of the Stone Age through the public homes of the Middle Ages to the boarding houses of the Industrial Revolution and the World War II era, shared living has been a prominent part of the human experience.

While there is certainly nothing new about shared living, it has recently emerged anew as a highly popular concept among millennials and other people who are looking for something different in the residential property sector, both urban and rural.

What is co-living?

The shared living organization Open Door has locations in both Portland, Oregon and the San Francisco Bay Area of California. It offers a definition of co-living that is both nuanced and succinct. In its attempt to clear up any confusion, Open Door calls co-living “a modern form of housing where residents share living space and a set of interests, values, and/or intentions.”

In short, co-living gathers individuals and/or families in residential environments that offer private sleeping quarters but shared bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms, and other common areas.  

As previously mentioned, co-living is particularly popular with millennials who have come to age in an era of social networking and the sharing economy. Many young adults view co-living as the natural progression of these ideas and appreciate its emphasis on values such as openness and collaboration.

It is important to note that modern co-living environments differ from the “hippy” communes of the 1960s, which tended to be activist-oriented and isolationist in nature. The co-living of today stresses the value of interconnectedness within the community and without.

What is co-housing?

The California co-living housing development Kindred Life resorts to Wikipedia to draw a clear distinction between co-living and co-housing. While both promote communal residential life, co-housing allows for substantially more privacy, keeping certain, more personal spaces (such as kitchens and bathrooms) separate. In addition to sharing significant indoor living spaces, co-housing places a strong focus on integrating shared features such as specialized work spaces, gymnasiums/health clubs, and game areas.

Co-housing, as we know it, first came to the United States in the late 1960s from Denmark. It generally tends to exist in suburban or rural settings rather than urban centers. The prototypical co-housing setup consists of a cluster of small private homes that share one or more common buildings. These common buildings often consist of common recreational areas, guest rooms, dining rooms, and/or kitchens. In many co-living situations, the community is planned and managed by its residents and governed by consensus-based decision-making.

To learn more

Despite its inherent value and growing appeal, shared living remains a decidedly niche market. If your residential property company is interested in pursuing this trendy new living style, you absolutely must have a clear and forward-looking plan to promote and market it. For more information about co-housing and co-living marketing, contact a knowledgeable Bigeye representative today.

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