As we covered in Part 1, there’s more to the housing crisis that issues of affordability. Current housing options are not only overpriced, but isolated, unsustainable and out of touch with modern lifestyles.
But it’s not all bad! Innovative and disruptive forms of living are beginning to emerge all around the world. One major trend seems to be a desire to live in a more connected way, and various models of communal living in particular are rapidly gaining traction.
Below are three models that have taken a different approach to creating homes in the 21st Century. The traction that these projects are gaining demonstrate that it is possible to do things differently!
ReGen Villages – A Vision For Sustainable Living
ReGen Villages are aiming to build small residential communities that are high-tech, off-grid, and self-sufficient. The project envisions developments that can produce all of their food and energy, tackling a host of environmental issues surrounding resources and pollution. Each eco-village would contain homes with attached greenhouses in which families can grow food and recycle waste products. It’s designed to be entirely ‘regenerative’, meaning that resources are used in a closed loop – outputs from one system can be used as inputs for another, such as with waste products being used for energy or fertilizer.
Since revealing their plans this summer, the project has gone viral. The company are currently working on their pilot project in Almere, Netherlands (expected 2018), and have signed agreements to develop ReGen villages in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany and Belgium.
Roam – An International Network For Digital Nomads
Roam boast an impressive global network of co-living and co-working spaces. Perfect for the digital nomad, signing a single lease allows you live in any of their developments around the world – from Bali to Miami to Madrid (with spaces in London, Tokyo and San Francisco coming soon). At their Ubud oasis (pictured), residents have their own serviced rooms alongside access to communal spaces, including a pool, co-working space, kitchen, cafe and yoga area.
The Collective Old Oak – Pioneering Co-living in London
The Collective are providing Londoners with an entirely new way of living at their Old Oak development, the world’s largest co-living space of over 500 people. Comprised of self-contained studio apartments and amazing shared facilities, Old Oak offers its members onsite amenities like a gym, launderette, restaurant, and bar. There’s also a games room, secret garden, library and themed kitchens in which members can socialise.
To encourage an active and connected community, Old Oak hosts daily activities and events: from yoga to live music, film nights to guest speaker series, potlucks to weekly breakfasts. Members are invited to co-create the community – since Old Oak opened in May, residents have set up numerous events, clubs and community initiatives.
Springhill - Residential Co-Housing
Near the centre of Stroud in Gloucestershire, Springhill is the first new-build cohousing scheme to be completed in the UK. It comprises 34 units, ranging from self-contained one bedroomed flats to five bedroomed houses, as well as a three-storey common house with a kitchen where shared meals and social activities take place. The buildings are well-insulated, timber-framed, low-polluting and energy-saving in design, and many have photo-voltaic panels on the roof generating electricity. Cars are parked on the periphery, freeing pedestrian space for community members of all ages. The emphasis is on living in a connected community, where people know and support each other.
Bosco Verticale - Cleaner Air in Urban Centres
Milan’s striking “green forest” is made up of two skyscrapers containing as many trees as could be planted in a hectare of forest. Born from a desire to combine high-density residential living with tree planting in urban centres, this novel approach to sustainability hopes to see the building’s thousands of trees, shrubs and flowers depollute and re-oxygenate the city air. The buildings’ plants are also used to moderate temperatures within the building during the winter and summer, as well as mitigate noise.
Written by Grace Waters