Communal Living - We've Been Here Before

Communal living is on the rise - we explore why this is.

Since the start of industrialization, as people moved from the fields into the factories, the nuclear family emerged as the dominant way of living for many developed communities and people around the world. By a nuclear family we mean two parents and their children. Extended family members live separately, in their own homes and often separate communities too.

However society is changing, and within that the structure and make up of our families are changing too. People are marrying later, delaying having children, while at the same time single parent families are on the rise. Housing shortages and rising house prices have also seen more people staying in the family home (their parents home) longer, or returning home to live with ageing parents. 

All of this has created a situation where people are looking for new and creative ways to live. For many people this has led to an interest in communal living - basically the bringing together of people of all ages, within shared housing. This can be housing where everything is shared, or it can be a more creative approach that takes private housing and places it within shared, communal spaces.

The main focus is community. People are not corralled into their nuclear family homes but are part of a wider lifestyle and housing ecosystem where they come together to eat, work, and socialize. They may also come together to share responsibilities, some communal living projects for example have shared childcare facilities. 

This emphasis on community is important. Especially in urban centres. Social isolation is on the rise, and growing also amongst all sectors of society. This social isolation is detrimental to all urban dwellers, and a new emphasis on neighbourhoods and local communities is important. 

Communal living is on the rise amongst all ages within a society. Young people, seniors, single parents and more are all embracing living together. Communal living is growing in popularity but it is not a new approach to living and housing. Before the industrial revolution, when most people were working in agriculture and before that were mainly hunter-gatherers, communal living was the norm. People lived in large groups made up of immediate and extended family members, as well as non-relatives. Chores and responsibilities were shared within this approach to living, and communities relied on each other as a group. 

We could also argue that communal living never actually went away. The Kibbutz movement in Israel still houses over 120,000 people. But recent years have witnessed a renewed interest in what might just be a better way to live for all of us.

Community. Connections. Relationships. This is what communal living prioritises, regardless of what it looks like exactly. 

Evolved co-living is an approach to housing that also prioritises community and connection. It understands the importance of private living spaces, and places them within the context of quality communal spaces, and events that bring together people for collaboration, socialising and more. 

At Vonder we have co-living spaces in London, Berlin, Warsaw and now Dubai. 

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