How could a co-living ecosystem work with families?

How would a shared lifestyle with kids work? (summary infographic attached)

Mary & Mark live in a co-living with their kids. Their flat is just enough for their family needs: 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, small low-equipped kitchen and a family room.

The couple wakes up at 6.30am, and while Mark makes breakfast, Mary wakes up the kids. Clothes for the week are sorted: every Monday arrives their subscription package for school uniforms and their daily clothes. They still keep a small wardrobe only for their absolutely favourites pieces, which they wash and iron approximately once every two weeks on a shared laundry. Everything else the subscription covers and getting ready in the morning is very easy!

The kids go to school with other kids in the co-living, so at 7.15am Mark is on his way to the office by shared bike. Sometimes when the bike is not available, he “car pools” using an app, or with time he goes on foot. Mary is an architect and uses a co-working space just across the building. Besides saving rent, she has an amazing network of creative professionals there, and impresses her clients with a great VR glasses, available for co-use, to showcase her interior designs and buildings.

When the kids are back from school, they do their homework in the study room in the building, which has access to the best library contents through a VPN in computers and tablets available there. They also play with other kids with shared toys and electronic games, and have sports activities in the co-living´s courts.

Dinner is either cooked in the kitchen shared with other 2 families, with shared appliances, or sometimes the families cook for each other or together. With 3 families sharing dishes, food waste is minimized, and the dishwasher always works on full capacity.

Through an app, it is also possible to share spare food with the neighbourhood. Once a week, the family uses the common cinema room to watch a movie, and twice a week they go to the gym, everything in the building.

At the end of the month, there is just one main household bill to be paid: the co-living´s rent, which includes utilities, rent, internet and cleaning. Their furniture belongs to a start-up who partners with the co-living, and the family can exchange any piece as they wish, when their needs change or if they want to change the style. The start-up exchanges it, rents it again to other clients, or they upcycle or recycle it, and there is no waste or landfill.

Their life is more community focused, with less belongings, just things that they really need or like. They have more time and money to spend on what matters to them.

Comments (1)

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Maria Chercoles
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  • I enjoyed your story. I know someone who grew up in a Kibbutz in Israel until she was 16 and the stories she shares sound a lot like this story. She and her brother didn't own any clothes. Instead, the whole Kibbutz community shared their clothes. At the end of a season, say summer, her family would take all their summer clothes back to a community center where they would be added to the communal "summer" clothes storage to be used next year. Then everyone in the family would get winter clothes based on their current size from the communal winter clothes section. This means they would get winter clothes that had been used by other kids the year prior. They would use these clothes for the winter, then return them and get "new" used summer clothes from the communal storage. I think there are many things about life in the Kibbutz that we could research and look at as inspiration for how co-living models could work in the future.