Dorm_Room-I_Elevtica-iStock_000062527548-450x300

As more and more people opt to do their jobs in co-working spaces, wouldn’t they be willing to apply the same philosophy to living quarters? That’s the idea behind the latest expansion of WeWork, a New York–based firm that, since 2010, has built a US$10-billion business running co-working spaces in more than 20 cities. Specifically, WeWork is betting that millennials—who, statistics show, are in no rush to emulate the suburban two-kids, two-cars ideal preferred by their parents—will choose communal living.

The idea is called WeLive, and the company thinks single young professionals will happily eschew a solo pad in the burbs in favour of shared living quarters (think: private bedrooms, communal dining and recreational spaces) in hip downtown neighbourhoods. According to WeWork—which plans to have 69 co-living sites in operation by 2018­—WeLive will be a US$600-million business within three years of opening.

A similar development is underway in Syracuse, N.Y., with Commonspace, a co-housing building that, when finished this spring, will contain 21 fully furnished rooms and a large communal chef’s kitchen. It also boasts a “community manager” (a term borrowed from tech circles), whose role is something between that of a concierge and a residence assistant.

These dwellings are like high-end dorms for the Instagram generation. Again, the target is young professionals who crave, in management’s words, a space that fosters “meaningful social interactions.” For US$1,000 a month, tenants get a cool place to live with like-minded peers—and none of the agitatation or uncertainty of a Craigslist sublet.

Multiple studies have shown that living with adults who aren’t blood relatives can have a positive impact on physical and mental well­being. And singletons sharing spaces is, of course, hardly a new concept. Indeed, grown-up co-housing is the norm in several European countries, including Denmark and the Netherlands.

But until now, most co-living in North America has been directed at seniors. The developments emerging in the U.S. aim to cultivate less of a Golden Girls vibe by catering to the legions of über-social 25- to 34-year-olds who expect convenience, want roommates and, by circumstance or by choice, don’t want to be tied to a massive mortgage. As the cost of living soars in Canada’s major cities, this might be the housing fix young Canucks have been waiting for.

MORE ON SHARED SPACES:

What other industries are millennials changing with their behaviours? Let us know by commenting below.

Loading comments, please wait.