In basic terms, it’s an industry where consumers pay for temporary ownership or temporary use of a product or service. It’s turning consumers into providers where they use their underutilized assets. Two common examples are when people rent out spaces in their homes via an online platform or when they use their own cars to give someone a ride and get paid for doing so. The sharing economy has replaced the need to own assets in order to get every task or errand done. Furthermore, coordination of sharing becomes very easy thanks to the advancements in comms tech.
Want to sip on some ice tea instead of buying a lawn mower? Don’t buy it, share it. Want to continue your online relationship with Zoltan from Estonia rather than go to a hardware store and buy the tools to build that bookcase shelf? Don’t buy, share. With apps like TaskRabbit you can book a handyman, or gardener, who has all the equipment and skills to get the job done.
It has become a natural evolution of human necessity that is on trend among millennials and younger generations who value experiences more than material goods. It’s a time where ownership is no longer perceived as a necessity, but rather additional costs and added maintenance responsibility. And this shift in mindset has only been made stronger by the connectivity that people enjoy nowadays. Everyone’s more connected and access to almost all types of information, music, documents, movies, etc is available from any device at any time.
We mentioned Airbnb earlier, a platform that allows individuals to rent out unused rooms or property and make money from it. But what started out with Airbnb has turned into something much more - shared living spaces. Also known as co-housing, coliving, or intentional communities, these models are providing shared housing for people who usually share the same interests, intentions and values.
The idea of this shared community is not new. It can be traced back to a concept that started in Europe in the 12th century and spread to the United States centuries later. It's the commune. No matter the location, communes promoted sustainable living and a sense of community. People worked the lands around the community for their own sustenance as well as items to sell at the market. In addition to sharing work responsibilities, some commune communities also shared assets. Today, a review of co-housing communities combines the best things about communes (sustainability and community) with those of an Airbnb (inexpensive comfort). In turn, this has transformed the way many people want to spend their time away from work.
Several factors have resulted in the popularity of shared communities. It started during The Great Recession when people who lost their jobs and financial security decided to go alone. This was also the start of the gig economy. Instead of returning to a regular job, many people embraced freelancing and contract work. In addition, thanks to huge leaps in technology during this time, connectivity and performance increased exponentially. Thus, these workers’ platforms became flexible. In turn, they could travel and work at the same time. Not only within their own region but also internationally. As long as there was a strong wireless connection, they could communicate with their clients and complete projects on-time. Plus, they got to experience another culture.
They wanted to experience new sites but they also wanted to share it with others via personal interaction. These personal interactions as well as organised activities that bring people together, however, are not usually found in other types of accommodations such as hotels or rented apartments and bed spaces. In Europe and Asia, they discovered coliving communities filled with people from other countries who were doing the same as they were. Here, they had an inexpensive private room, high speed internet, access to local businesses, and the ability to socialize and even collaborate on projects. There's one more factor that has led to the popularity of shared living – millennials. As this generation has grown into adulthood, they have exchanged possessions for owning life experiences. In turn, they have embraced minimalism and taken great interest in the sharing economy.
The future looks bright for coliving, particularly in urban centers. As more people head to these cities for jobs and cultural connections, monthly payments continue to soar while housing availability shrinks. This makes co-housing the convenient and reasonably priced option over the next few years and perhaps decades. We also see minimalism fueling the growth of this industry. As more people embrace the concept of living with less, they'll turn to these establishments. And millennials won't be the only ones – people from every generation will consider this as they change careers or retire.
The residents of today's communities are a mix of remote corporate employees, freelancers, retired individuals, and professionals seeking a new life. They either opt for a short term or a long term accommodation. Short term coliving is more popular with digital nomads who usually stay up to six months and then travel to another destination. Long term coliving, on the other hand, are more geared towards professionals who want to permanently live in a community.
These are individuals who don't need to come into the office or home to perform their jobs. Thus, they can travel across the globe while earning. While they appreciate the income and high-speed internet, these modern nomads desire heightened social interaction they don't receive via social media or instant messaging. In addition, they value the global community and want to learn from it. Of course, those values aren't solely owned by digital nomads. Many who join these communities are looking for something more in their life. They not only want to experience revival of their inspiration but also develop a sense of spirituality or peace they may not have had in their prior life.
Now that we've piqued your curiosity into the world of coliving, we want to tell you how E-Co fits into the model. E-Co is a hybrid solution of the two models of coliving (short and long term). We embrace both digi nomads who are looking for more flexibility in terms of their living and working setup and young entrepreneurs who desire to kick off their own startups. And it is through our coliving spaces that we want to create the strongest community of the next generation of leaders in the sustainability business. We want to be able to bring brilliant minds together, creating better and more sustainable solutions for the environment. Further, as we build this community, we also want our members to rethink their idea of living that past generations placed into society. Instead, we want them to enjoy the convenience of working in any city across the globe and experience a surge of productivity, while being able to give back to nature.
Our houses aims to minimize human impact on the environment through the use of solar panels, internet of things (IoT), and water and waste management. The practice of upcycling is deeply expressed as well into our model of furnishing our spaces, where we give a second life to reclaimed wood and plastic waste. At E-Co, we want you to experience life instead of letting it disappear in front of you. We want you to be inspired to create your best work and be the best version of yourself while experiencing a new culture. Here, your community goes beyond your social media friends. Finally, we want you to know that you have the power to create a better world by making greener choices. Drop us a message if you want to learn more about our community and our eco-spaces. We're always ready to help you shift your mindset into one of living life instead of letting it pass you by.