Coliving Cocktail #22

Hi all,

2020 has kicked in - let's rock 💥

And it's starting from my side with a major blogpost on a topic that has barely been written about: the art of community building.

Enjoy the read and wishing us all a fantastic year ahead!

Approaches of community building in coliving —

I decided to write an article on the ROI of community building. The first part of this article tackles two fundamental questions: how do we define community, and what are the current coliving approaches to create it?

This post explains the different community-building models (from top-down to bottom-up and self-run systems) and what type of relationship they create with colivers (and yes, I added some drawings too).

Next week, I will explain the financials behind each of those models, and what the ROI on community building means for each approach.


Some thoughts I've been having —

  • What would be an equation for relationship building? After spending a few days at Startup Embassy coliving, a friend said: "I had a limiting belief that connections can't be created in a short amount of time. And I was proven wrong." This sparked in me the following formula: human connection = time spent x (soft rules/culture of behavior + alignment of needs). Hence, time is less relevant in a space that creates a safe space of openness and non-judgment while matching people with the same ultimate needs (such as personal growth or love/belonging).
  • What communities need coliving in order to exist? Let's take the example of people who speak Esperanto. This language was constructed to be easily learnable and spoken internationally. Yet, only 1 million people spread across the world are speaking it. Creating a coliving space for people to practice this language could be fundamental to its own survival. What other niches can you think about?
  • And I loved the following quote from a commune member: "I choose to live with my best friend, not my boyfriend." This indicates that long-term friendships are being prioritized over (sometimes) transitional relationships - which makes total sense to me. My take is that if coliving spaces would focus on attracting already exisiting friend groups, it would positively impact the average length of stay.

News & analysis from the coliving scene —

  • The coliving marketing video blew my mind. HVNS (pronounced "havens") coliving is about to open and released its concept video. What's been done right: it addresses the target audience (new city dwellers) with their key values of mobility and adventure; it does not refer to coliving or community but to the fundamental need of emotional safety (hence, putting the bar low for expectations); and it creates a tension across the video by not referring to the actual end product. All of that in pure storytelling.
  • Interesting stats thanks to the 2020 Apartment Resident Preferences Report: only 15% of renters said they had or would use a coworking space in their building, and nearly 70% said they would not be interested in this type of living situation. And bringing it back to the animals question: dog owners said they would pay more for perks such as a community dog park among other pet services on site (read the report overview)
  • We’re witnessing the entrance of wellness into coliving. After Haven in Los Angeles, a new space in London opened its doors: Mason & Fifth is the first coliving space focussing on that core value in this city. I love how the space has shared lounges and kitchens for every 10 residents (creating micro-clusters that allow micro-communities and intimacy) while also having shared areas for the whole building. Moreover, they realised that many of their renters weren’t graduating student, but single people (mostly high earning women) in their late thirties (GQ Magazine).
  • Manchester is concerned about coliving as proposed rooms are 50% smaller than the current housing stock, therefore not being appropriate for long-term residents. The city is therefore putting coliving developments on hold until a policy is put in place (read the article). Most cities are currently struggling with exactly that: what guidelines would be appropriate for coliving developments? If anyone is working on that subject, please reach out.
  • Some trends that I’ll be watching more closely in 2020 will be around rental price regulations and the entrance of big tech players into the housing (and coliving) scene. For the former, California’s State Assembly for example passed a bill capping annual rent increases at 5 percent, in an effort to ease the state’s severe housing crisis. And for the later, there has been a $5bn commitment by Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft to tackle the affordable housing crisis (find more trends in this report).

And what I've been up to...

I finished 2019 with my book structure on Christmas Day and took off for a week-long adventure in between Germany, Netherlands and Spain.

While I'm currently taking an entire week to write the first book draft, I also rebranded the Coliving Diaries website and launched the new Co-Liv website (built with my marketing agency Prometheus).

And lastly, I wrote my "Twenty 2020 Predictions" to what will happen to the coliving scene. It won't be shared until the year is over - if you want to join this game, let me know 🙂

Wishing for 2020 to be full of intentional action,


PS: If you have any thoughts on what you just read, please share them with me, I’d love to read them. And if someone forwarded you this email, you can subscribe to my newsletter here.

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