Co-Living: A Popular Living Approach in Cities

Co-living has become increasingly popular with the rise of people living in cities, housing shortages, rocketing rental prices, and widespread awareness of the impact of climate change. While communal living is a concept that has existed in some form or another throughout human existence, the modern model of co-living as we know it, emerged in Denmark around the 1970s. These were communities where multiple homes had designated shared communal spaces which derived from residents wanting to interact with each other socially more regularly. 

Co-living is defined as a community living concept with like-minded people, sharing service costs and having flexible rental terms. It provides accommodation for single person households who choose not to live in self-contained houses, flat-shares, or HMOs. Co-living accommodation is characterised by private sleeping spaces with compact kitchenettes and study areas; however, communal spaces such as kitchens, living, dining and work areas are shared with other residents. As co-living accommodation continues to expand and evolve, the typology of communal space has extended to gyms, movie theaters, spas, and event spaces to cater to people’s different interests, lifestyles, and hobbies.  

Co-living schemes promote themselves as places for structured networking, catering to specific communities such as artists, entrepreneurs, designers etc, providing residents the prospect to thrive through being surrounded by likeminded people. Furthermore, with the widespread of remote-working post pandemic, co-living offers a potential solution to loneliness and isolation and alternative to living alone. 

As an architectural concept, Co-living accommodation brings forth an opportunity to create spaces that are creative and innovative. Breaking away from traditional rental and ownership standards, this form of living arrangement could address key topics such as sustainability and climate change through sometimes utilising existing buildings and sharing resources to reduce overall carbon footprint. 

Exterior Perspective from Edgeware Road

Within the last several years, co-living schemes have been emerging. Savills report there are 3,422 beds in the UK in 2023 with another 21,599 in the planning pipeline trebling the accommodation since 2019. There are currently 2,820 Co-living beds in London representing 82% of the UK market. 

Communal Lounge Area

Mark Fairhurst Architects has recently been designing Co-living schemes with new-buildings and adapting and extending existing former institutional buildings. We combine sustainable design strategies alongside curating transformational residential build-to-rent schemes.

If you would like to discuss this developing sector, please get in touch!

Co-living Communal Space