A New Survey Says People Want to Share Gardens and Wifi, But Not Bathrooms

published Feb 26, 2018
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(Image credit: Franke Chung)

We’ve already shown that we’d rather share homes and rides and bicycles, and we’d rather rent, borrow, or swap clothes and books and food and even pets than own them outright — just to name a few areas of life that have been “disrupted” by the “sharing economy.” But while some people may relegate these habits to a millennial trend or a hipster fad, one new global survey shows that “co-living” is on the rise — not to mention big business.

IKEA’s “future living” innovation lab — Space 10 — asked more than 7,000 people from 147 countries around the world about how they would like to live in 2030. Called One Shared House 2030, the global survey was designed as a “playful research project” in collaboration with New York-based firm Anton & Irene, with the idea that they would be able to quantify exactly how people will prefer to live a dozen years from now.

So what do we all want from our spaces and communities in the future? Findings underscore the rising popularity of “co-living” — collaborative living spaces, much like coworking spaces only for our domestic life — a trend that has been on the rise with an increasing number of “co-living networks” popping up around the world since about 2013, according to Shareable, the magazine of the peer-to-peer economy.

The New Yorker also profiled the rise in “flexible, community-driven housing” in a May 2016 issue, comparing co-living spaces to “dorms for grown-ups.” And French magazine OuiShare, which covers our increasing desires for a “collaborative society,” also pointed out in a November story that not only is the concept of “co-living” nothing new — it was the urban norm, especially for extended families, until the early 20th Century — but it could also be a solution to our increasingly serious problem of being too disconnected from, with less empathy for, other human beings.

And these co-living spaces and startups, including WeWork’s “WeLive” concept, are poised to become big business while simultaneously promising to provide more living for less money to their residents. The New Yorker article shared figures from a leaked document where WeLive’s residential revenue is already projected at 21 percent of their overall revenue (or $605.9 million) by 2018.

(Image credit: Anik Polo)

So, the results from IKEA’s shared living survey —announced last week at the Frame Awards in Amsterdam — are far from shocking to anyone familiar with the sharing economy and its increasing impact on lifestyle trends. According to One Shared House, by 2030 there will be 1.2 billion more people on the planet, and 70 percent of us will be living in cities.

Here’s a bit of the data from their “blueprint of how we might live tomorrow”:

Most respondents said that they would rather live in tight-knit communities of four to 10 people, with diverse backgrounds and ages — because we want to socialize, but not too much.

The communities would preferably be with singles or couples without children, and we’d rather live with pets than with babies or teenagers. (Single dads were low on the list for people living in Asia, too — sorry, Pops.)

As far as daily interactions, people would rather help clean than have dinner together, and would rather share internet, gardens, workspaces, and utilities than bathrooms — in that area of the house, we definitely still want our own space. Sharing bedrooms was a non-starter, as well.

A lack of privacy was a top concern overall, except among those over 60 — who are more concerned about others’ messes or dealing with “silly” arguments.

(Image credit: Megan Spelman)

The majority of respondents said that they’re drawn to the idea of co-living for the social and connection benefits, but that they’d want their shared living spaces to be guided by democratic principles — voting on new members and rules, etc. — as well as shared, equal ownership.

Who would we be most likely to want to “co-live” with? Honest, tidy, and considerate housemates topped the list while (surprisingly) funny and handy were at the bottom. Maybe because fans of shared living would be happy to spend a little more for extra services, like healthy meals or grocery delivery (and hiring a handyman versus DIY, presumably).

Last, but possibly most important to all of us reading Apartment Therapy, co-living space residents would all prefer to design their own private quarters, while leaving the design of the common areas up to a “democratic” designer.

To dive deeper into the One Shared House 2030 results, follow Space10 on Medium.