“Co-living is all about community and collaboration rather than isolation and competition.” ——— By Amir Kamarudin
Curing The Loneliness Epidemic
In 2019, the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) had made “suicide prevention” the main theme of World Mental Health Day. According to WHO, more than 800,000 people die by suicide a year, making it the main cause of death among people 15 – 29 years old. It is often believed that it is only adults who exhibit suicidal behaviour, but it should be noted that many children and young people also engage in this kind of behaviour as a result of violence, bullying, social isolation and/or lack of real human interaction.
Scientists have long known that loneliness is emotionally painful and can lead to psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and even hallucinatory delirium. But only recently have they recognized how destructive it is to the body.
Back in 2015, researchers at UCLA discovered that social isolation triggers cellular changes that could result in chronic inflammation, predisposing the lonely to serious physical conditions like heart disease, stroke, metastatic cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. One 2015 analysis, which pooled data from 70 studies following 3.4 million people over several years, found that lonely individuals had a 26% higher risk of dying. This figure rose to 32% if they lived alone.
Concept of Community Living
Many of us have already lived, are living, or will live in a shared student house – a good mix of cheap housing and intense socializing with friends and schoolmates. For a reasonable price, it is possible to have a single private room and share common spaces. In fact, not only university students are living this way nowadays. the concept of community living, or coliving, is becoming more and more attractive and an effective rental solution.
The high prices of real estate and an increasingly solitary lifestyle are leading people to seek new ways of living. Despite the similarities with a student house, co-living combines many other aspects, such as a sense of community, sustainability, and collaborative economy. This concept emerged in Denmark in the 1970s – originally under the name of cohousing.
The Sættedammen initiative, for instance, consisted of 35 families living in private homes while sharing communal spaces for socializing and activities, such as dining, housekeeping, group gatherings, festivities, and other events. Today, co-living offers a multitude of possibilities, ranging from people who simply live together – solely sharing the physical space – to communities who also share values and lifestyle interests.
Community living should not just be an emerging asset class, rather offers affordability, sustainability, flexibility, cost-savings and a sense of belonging. It’s a revolution. A way of living that cultivates real human interaction, builds trust and relationship. Co-living is all about community and collaboration rather than isolation and competition.
One of the most tangible benefits of co-living is that it encourages the adoption of a sustainable lifestyle. By making it easier to share resources, Youtopia co-living facilities, for example, not only save money but also offer lower barrier to entry via its zero deposit scheme and one month deposit options (terms and conditions apply). Youtopia co-living facilities empower you to pay a fixed rate with all the key amenities from TV, fridge, furnishings, electricity, wifi, etc being factored into the monthly rent, as each person interfaces directly with the co-living company, Youtopia.
While co-living settings involve people living under one roof from different walks of life and offer plenty of opportunities for collaboration and community bonding, it also gives enough and much-needed quiet time and privacy. While designing a co-living unit, Youtopia is mindful of optimum utilization of space, building efficiency and convenience while ensuring tenants’ privacy. Use of colours, furnishing materials and unique design palettes also play a major role in brightening up the place that a collective group of people can call their home. While the majority of the residents opting for co-living facilities are the young population, it’s a myth that this lifestyle is mainly for millennials since they are most likely to be attracted to something different from the norm. The truth is that with increased traffic in metropolitan cities, people across age groups are opting for co-living facilities which are near to their workplace, despite having a home in some other distant part of the city. This is primarily to avoid the daily commute and saves on time for other leisurely pursuits. Co-living also allows residents to choose their place of stay without being discriminated against for their choice of food, clothing, race, or gender.
While the concept of co-living isn’t entirely new, with booming urbanization, rocketing housing prices, shrinking living spaces and increasing social disconnects, we can expect the future of rental living to be more flexible, community building oriented, and surprisingly affordable through shared spaces.