Communal living for young professionals

Communal living sounds like something from the 1960’s but it is all around us and is gaining popularity.



Some old friends of mine recently found me online. I’m easy to find. I’ve been an online blogger for 16 years. It’s funny we connected because they sent me a cryptic note that read something like:

“Hey, you should check out the Tamara Riverside Lodge”.

I get emails like this all the time. Rich African widows trying to get money out of Nigeria, Chinese manufacturers looking for North American distributers, invitations to become a secret shopper…that sort of thing. So, although I usually just delete and ignore such invitations, this time I wrote back,

“Why should I do that?”

Turns out it’s Barb and Rory. I hung out with them in Greece and Amsterdam way back in the late 1980’s. They are running a hostel now, in New Zealand and I briefly thought about paying them a visit.


I only mention this now because communal living has it’s charms. It is great having friends at the ready for a conversation, to share a meal with or to go out and do something fun with.

I was reading this article in the Atlantic.


Dorms for grownups

Instead of renting an apartment or buying a condo, there is an idea taking shape for renting a micro unit connected to communal living space. It is essentially dorm rooms for non-students or like backpacker’s hostels where the stay isn’t a couple of nights, but instead months or even years.

It is a great idea, maybe not for everyone, but certainly timely. For someone moving into a new city, it could lead to instant companionship. For those fresh out of university, living with others seems pretty normal. Furthermore, many of us have shed the need for “going to work”, and working in an office and instead are used to working from shared working space, like Starbucks. Even offices, like mine, don’t have cubicles and offices but instead have shared working spaces.


Oversupply of student accommodationscommunal dorm at Ikon

Waterloo has built too much student housing. Currently there is an oversupply of 2000 student housing units and there are another 7000 in the planning stages. At the same time, the cohort of new students is predicted to remain low for the next seven or eight years. I remember when this story first come out, I scoffed at the line,

“If an oversupply situation does come to be, the housing could end up being adapted for young professionals or other users.”

Now I’ve changed my mind.  Just look at the similarities with the floor plans for Icon and Commonspace.


Photo credit one and two

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