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The Rise of Co-Living to Address the Affordable Housing Crisis

The housing shortage which followed the 2008 financial meltdown eventually led us to today's affordable housing crisis, especially in America's growing urban centers. As demand for housing increased during the economic recovery and banks abandoned the residential real estate market, landlords have been able to increase rents beyond what less affluent tenants can reasonably afford. For instance, the average Los Angeles rent has risen to $2,265 per month. and it's one of the economic factors cited by striking teachers in that city. And rents in desirable neighborhoods have risen even faster. There are simply too few apartments and too many prospective tenants bidding up rental prices.

One of the more creative solutions to the problem is "co-living" and its catching on quickly in America's fastest growing urban areas. Generally, co-living arrangements involve each tenant having a private bedroom [and bath for a bit more money], but sharing the remainder of their living space with a group of co-tenants. Co-living housing is much more affordable, but raises some privacy issues. But for many young college graduates who have found jobs in San Francisco, New York, or LA, it's not much of a stretch from their college housing arrangements.

And this isn't dorm living; some co-living complexes in Southern CA offer fitness centers, tanning booths, resort-level pools with cabanas, and expensive modern furnishings.

Many see tremendous growth in co-living as part of the new sharing economy. Designboom sees it as one of the top trends for 2019 and IKEA's Innovation lab argues that new technologies will make it more adaptable to personal preferences.

Designboom: "co-living is growing in popularity in major cities such as London and New York, and we believe this is just the beginning,’ says space 10, IKEA’s innovation lab. according to their research, the rise of the sharing economy is opening up people’s attitudes when it comes to their most intimate spaces. ‘shared living will become increasingly attractive to millions of people as they struggle to find adequate and affordable housing in cities in the years to come’ and tech will make it possible. smart hubs, or smart mirrors that work as information points in the home, make it easier to customize a space according to multiple preferences. then there is smart locks that rid the need for a physical key and smart appliances that adapt to the preferences of each user. artificial intelligence and the internet of things has the power to completely disrupt the housing market and digital devices are helping make co-living a widespread phenomenon."

Co-living is a creative solution to our housing shortage, and, to many young people, an appealing alternative to bunking with mom and dad.


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