It makes sense.
It makes incredible sense.
If you aren’t rich, leaving behind the notion of completely autonomous living/entire apartments or houses to one’s self as the norm and considering other ways to live makes so much sense that real estate agents would be wise to start looking for properties that would help this trend along.
There are more than economic pluses to this, and there are lots of ways to tailor the concepts to what the individuals want and need.
Co-housing is the thin end of the wedge version. It’s individual and seems to be most often in the news as a kind of “Golden Girls” reboot. A few women in their late fifties or so decide to buy a big house together and share the amenities and the mortgage – I think I’ve seen three or four “feel-good” stories like that on my social media.
But it’s like being roomies: it seems as though all that is being shared is the monetary arrangements – that people are buying and cooking their own food, and entertaining their own guests in their own portion of allotted spaces.
This could be a route younger people explore, too – except, of course, they have no assets to cash in to come up with a down payment, so it’s not surprising that we haven’t seen anything like that yet. But I think it’s coming.
Co-ops might help this along: governments could, if they chose to alleviate the housing crunch for people between 20 and 40, help by raising the cash and subsidizing the building of co-ops in the form of “tiny home” apartments connected to larger group spaces (like kitchen-dining room facilities for larger gatherings, recreational spaces for socializing, day care centres in-building for young families, and things like that. )
If those big indoor shopping malls start to fail, those might be great places to start, because there is at least one of those already in the USA. Some of the ground floor could be rented out to small food vendors (delis, greengrocers, maybe a sandwich place, and a café) because the spaces are already in place for that.
And communal living: where all the costs of life are shared, and people agree to work together to build a decent life – there are some really amazing advantages to this.
One is that a parent would know that some other adults have accepted the idea that they have a responsibility to the child/children, and there would almost always be someone around to babysit.
Another is that no one person would need to be financially responsible for everything. Life is chancy, and lay-offs come at inopportune moments. Knowing that you won’t be instantly homeless can make a person more able to concentrate on getting another job with a lot less stress.
But the best part of this would be the sense of family that would be built. Shared meals, shared squabbles over what show to binge-watch on Netflix, gentle nags about doing the dusting – those things are so basic to letting us know we’re part of something, that we are, in fact, cared for.
And too many people are living without that.
The time has come for western countries especially to realize that the single-family suburban McMansion lifestyle is both wasteful and socially isolating – that it has created more problems than we noticed, back when cars and gas were cheap, a living wage wasn’t unexpected (at least for white men), and when people still actually knew their neighbours and/or probably didn’t live that far from the rest of their own families.
It’s different now, and we need to change at bedrock level.
Concepts around housing and “family” seem like a good place to start.