The Common Agenda for Shared Living

Author
Aitana de Jong, Matt Lesniak & Bart Sasim

Coliving Ventures is the world’s first venture dedicated to accelerating the growth and consolidation of coliving. Born from a collaboration between several coliving innovators and thought leaders, Coliving Ventures has developed into an ecosystem of initiatives that helps the coliving industry to flourish, including Coliving Awards and Coliving Insights. Through powerful and strategic partnerships with other key actors of the shared living sector, Coliving Ventures builds and co-manages ventures whose goal is to positively impact the coliving scene through research and development, awards ceremonies and more.

With the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) having just ended, we as real estate professionals need to align our strategies and activities with global goals to secure net-zero in our industry by mid-century and ensure climate mitigation and adaptation are at the core of all that we do. That said, we believe shared living is one of the real estate industries with the largest potential for long-term impact and sustainability. 

Shared living can be considered as an umbrella typology for multiple specialist residential real estate classes, including coliving, PBSL, PBSA, cohousing, hybrid hospitality, senior housing and other forms of communal living. In a majority of shared living offers, many operators are providing the ‘3 C’s of Coliving’:  ‘community, convenience and cost (or affordability). To break this down into social value terms – or environmental, economic and social impact – coliving operators are delivering mostly social and economic value (with relatively affordable rental rates and strong social environments and connections to local neighbourhoods). Add in the fact that living in community can help decrease consumption and waste through the sharing of space and resources, shared living operators seemingly touch on all three aspects of social value, including environmental impact.

So how exactly can shared living brands deliver on these promises? As the sector evolves and expansions, administrations, bankruptcies, mergers and acquisitions occur, we need a shared agenda for bringing these typologies together in sustainable and community-driven ways. This will require strong collaborations and resource/knowledge sharing between market players to ensure that primary and secondary stakeholders – residents, local communities, cities, governments and our planet – are put at the core of industry decision making, standards and strategies.

Our vision for ‘The Common Agenda of Shared Living’ therefore embeds impact, sustainability, experience, community, technology and wellbeing at the core of the shared living model, and it includes the following principles: 


Impact & Sustainability

In regards to real estate and shared living, impact and sustainability can be considered as the environmental, social and economic value that developments contribute to wider society (aka social value). Social value and ESG approaches should be applied throughout the entirety of a building’s life cycle, from design to construction to operations, in order to consider how our buildings positively impact local communities, economies and environments.



Impact Spheres of Coliving - Coliving Insights No.3, Impact & Sustainability in Coliving


User & Community Experience (UCX)

After over a year of social isolation and quarantining becoming the norm, we need to vouch even stronger for a return to community and authentic connection. The potential of shared living developments will be defined by its streamlined operations, digital transformations, sustainable and natural design, but most importantly by the flourishing of their communities. This means embedding user and community experience at the core of the shared living business model.

The Coliving UCX Journey - The Community Facilitation Handbook


Health & Wellbeing

The impact of the built environment on our (and the planet’s) health and wellbeing is enormous, and it is our responsibility as shared living professionals to ensure high quality, healthy and happy homes. Throughout the investment, development, design and operations phases we must ensure the health and wellbeing of our communities and wider stakeholders are considered and supported.

The WELL Building Standard v2

With these principles in mind, it is crucial that multi-stakeholder ecosystems of shared living professionals and businesses collaborate to foster economically, socially and environmentally sustainable shared living ventures that are both impact-driven and financially viable.

Ultimately it comes down to this: measuring what we treasure! In order to deliver on this collective agenda, we know it must be embedded throughout our investments, strategies, activities, designs and communities; we must put in place structures and processes (e.g. KPIs) to make ourselves accountable to our shareholders and wider stakeholders. 

Coliving Impact Logic Model - Coliving Insights No.3, Impact & Sustainability in Coliving

By using tools like the ‘impact logic model’ shared above, shared living professionals can ensure their  initiatives are aligned with global sustainability and climate change goals, financially viable and stakeholder-driven. 

From research and development to award ceremonies, industry reports, events and more, Coliving Ventures’ mission is to ensure the principles of ‘The Common Agenda of Shared Living’ are embedded throughout the activities and initiatives we are supporting and collaborating with.

Our agenda is not just one for the shared living sector; it is a collective agenda that aims to secure the sustainability and prosperity of future generations while preserving the health and wellbeing of our communities, cities and planet as a whole.

Aitana de Jong, Bart Sasim and Matt Lesniak – Co-Founders & Managing Partners of Coliving Ventures.

Coliving Ventures is the world’s first venture dedicated to accelerating the growth and consolidation of coliving. With our first two ventures, Coliving Insights and Coliving Awards, we focus on bringing the most innovative projects and brightest minds together to inspire a new generation of real estate and shared living professionals. Through powerful and strategic partnerships with other key actors of the shared living sector, Coliving Ventures builds and co-manages ventures whose goal is to positively impact the coliving scene through research and development, awards ceremonies, industry events and more.

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