Back to the future - How urbanization is making us rethink how we live in cities

If the idea of community living conjures up 1960s counterculture communes or university dormitories, think again. Community living in 2019, so called co-living, is being designed to appeal to how people live in the 21st century. From millennials to empty nesters and those seeking an alternative to retirement communities, co-living is gaining wider appeal.

Co-living

Citizen centric

The dominant social model of the 20th century, the nuclear single-family home in the suburbs, is being displaced. As people reassess their needs, considering issues such as affordability and connectedness in the age of social media, co-living is emerging as a competitive model. The move toward co-living is inspiring urban planners, architects, and developers to think differently as major cities around the globe seek ways to maintain attractiveness while mitigating housing challenges around population and affordability. Hotel operators and commercial developers in particular are at the forefront, seeking to maintain relevance in a landscape of shifting preferences.

Arcadis is working with city planners and developers to manage the anticipated growth in cities and developing ways to make them vital and liveable places where citizens can thrive. The great thing is, this is demand is being driven by citizens – they are having a say in how we shape our cities.

What is co-living?

Co-living is a type of intentional, collaborative housing in which residents actively participate in the community’s design and operation. It is based around affinity groups, bringing people together with shared interests, ranging from special interest groups and dinner clubs to sporting and wellbeing activities to form communities. Rather than purchasing an apartment, people rent for either long term or short term. Amenities, such as cleaning services and curated activities are all included. This kind of shared economy is gaining traction.

It’s also leading to new business opportunities. Firms like Kndrd are using technology to automate the administrative side of shared living. By clicking on your preferences, interested parties can find a space that is right for them, and then Kndrd takes care of all the aspects from vetting and booking, to administering the stay, and even supports the activities that form the community life.

Commercial opportunities

Increasingly, hoteliers and commercial developers are trying to figure out how can they make co-living work for them. Arcadis works with experts who are leading in this area, so we are ideally placed to bridge the gap between the traditional sectors and helping them to connect with these pioneers.



Making the connection – join us at EXPO REAL to find out more about creating liveable cities. We’ll be in the Innovation Hall, A3.125


Stéphane Kirkland

City Executive - Paris +33 (0)6 76 15 41 10 Ask me a question