Collaborative Living: Outsourced housing

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Collaborative Living: Outsourced housing


Web 2.0 has taught us how to share and exchange using social media and now also how to internalize. We use, book and buy various services on online platforms, and smartphones have long become a constant companion in our lives. According to a trend study by the Future Institute in Frankfurt, the Shared Economy has spread the culture of sharing to accommodation. This means: Private living spaces will in future be limited to essential functions and only the most important, personal things will be kept in the home of the future. Other things will simply be stored.

Sharing is Caring

We do car sharing, using Uber and book holiday accommodation with Airbnb. Through platforms of the so-called sharing economy it is possible to use services and things without owning them. A business of sharing is taking place that focuses on communal use. According to the Future Institute, even today single people or those who travel a lot for business or pleasure rarely use their kitchen. Many of them eat out. This means for example that dinner parties with friends at home will become a thing of the past, but rather that these parties will take place in a “shared” kitchen and living room outside the home. Even the spa experience in your bath could take place at a shared Day Spa making your own bathtub unnecessary. Such shared, but independently used living functions are central to the concept of collaborative living. Certain living situations would therefore take place on premises shared with others. The Future Institute believes: "Living quality is no longer defined by the size and features of a home, but by the additional usage and flexible housing options within houses and neighborhoods." For example, it would be possible for guest rooms to be planned in a residential building, which could be used by each resident, or a shared workspace may be created this way.

Consolidated building & social densification

The concept of Collaborative Living is also emerging at a time when "condensed building" is becoming the latest buzzword. While condensed building in Switzerland has not been pursued as a concept for a very long time, it has long been a reality for the major metropolises around the world. In New York, Tokyo or London, living space is often very limited. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, in Tokyo, the average person lives in just less than 15 square meters. In the Far East, more specifically Hong Kong and Taiwan, the trend towards so-called "micro-apartments" has advanced the most. For such living situations, furniture such as folding beds, folding chairs, etc. are becoming trendy again.

In Switzerland too, the population, especially in cities, has grown significantly in recent decades. In addition, there is a limit to constructible areas in this country. In the city of Zurich, the average living space per person is 39 square meters. That is about 7 square meters less than the Swiss average, but still about 2.5 times more than in Tokyo. According to the city of Zurich, until 2007 the housing stock was still above the population growth; however, since 2008, this is no longer the case: More and more people are moving to the city of Zurich and the population growth is well above the available housing stock.

The result: Each additional home accounts for around 3 newcomers. The city of Zurich calls this "social densification". So, it is becoming a little tight in Zurich and concepts for shared living space such as Collaborative Living could continue to become very attractive for cooperative buildings and other housing projects in the city. In Zurich, the cooperative housing projects "Dreieck" and "Kraftwerk" are already trying out new ways of communal living: Residents have access to large common areas and (roof) gardens, while private living spaces are a bit smaller. There are also no restrictions on shared activities in cooperatives. For example, the cooperative "Dreieck" operates its own bistro, while others offer homework help or childcare. Around 20 percent of the living space in the city of Zurich is run cooperatively, which amounts to around 40,000 apartments according to NZZ.

Anyone who has a tight living space and limited storage space but would like to use a common living room and lounge has the option of renting additional storage space in the city of Zurich. Self-Storage has a solution for this. With placeB, storage space between 1 and more than 40 cubic meters can be booked easily using a smartphone.