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Co-living: a new way to live in the city

By 2030, there will be 1.2billion more of us, 70% of us will be living in cities, and one in three of us will be living communally.

A large group of people eating dinner and chatting around a table.
A large group of people eating dinner and chatting around a table.

Could you co-live?

When we visited Nest in Copenhagen, a co-living social set-up for entrepreneurs started in 2014, Nesters were clear on the benefits: ‘This is like family – we take care of each other.’ Now, IKEA future living lab SPACE10 and design agency Anton & Irene are running One Shared House 2030, a survey of people’s views on co-living. So far, people in 171 countries have taken part.

Our concept of home is changing – away from the idea of ownership, to seeing it as a service, like many digital platforms have allowed us to do with music, media and cars.

Jamiee Williams, SPACE10 project lead for shared living

The futurist

Architect Jamiee Williams works on shared living at SPACE10. ‘Urbanisation has led to unaffordable housing and, paradoxically, increasing loneliness.’ Most survey respondents see socialising as the biggest benefit of co-living, and for the over 60s, being able to ask for help is most important. ‘Co-living is an opportunity to live in your own private place but still be part of a “family”.’

Communal living has moved on from communes and sharing meals. It can be just sharing facilities like utilities. What’s nice is that everyone who answered our survey would be willing to share at least one thing.

Irene Pereyra, Anton & Irene co-founder

The designer

Irene Pereyra, co-founder of Anton & Irene, grew up in a co-living project. ‘The survey results tell us we need to broaden the demographic scope of our thinking – it’s not only affluent millennials that benefit from co-living, it’s people like my mum, a low-income single parent. Co-living can empower us all to reclaim the cities and bring back what it actually means to share.’

Collective living is the future. We want to provide a more grown-up version of property guardianship as a sustainable and practical solution to the housing crisis.

Scott Franklin, founder of PGP

The social entrepreneur

Scott Franklin founded Property Guardian Protection (PGP), which secures and maintains vacant urban buildings to rent out as temporary homes. ‘We’re creating safe, affordable homes that help to foster communities in the city. Every six guardians share a kitchen and every five guardians share bathroom facilities.’ Take a tour of guardian Hannah’s shared home in a former warehouse run by PGP.

Find full results of the One Shared House 2030 survey and participate online

We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.

Made by
Photographers: Daniel Farmer, Kasper Kristoffersen, Mel Yates
Follow PGP on Instagram: @propertyguardianprotection
Follow SPACE10 on Instagram: @space10_journal
Find out more about the world of shared living with Imagine online publication