The History of Coliving


Historic examples of co-living:



  • Long ago, humans were hunter-gatherers that lived in large, mobile camps together. These nomadic people relied on one another for everything from food to protection to child care assistance.
  • Psychology says that part of human nature’s default mode is to be social. One theory: people have an innate (and very powerful) need to belong.
  • On average having stronger social ties increased the likelihood of an individual’s overall survival by as much as 50 percent
  • The acts of the tribe sharing resources equally — is something that predates even the written word.
  • It wasn’t until the 12th century that households became organized around monogamous couples and their children
  • In the 1800s that divisions were drawn between who would live with whom, and towards the end of the 19th century the so-called “godly family” started to take shape, that of single families living in individual homes.
  • In 1750, before the Industrial Revolution in Britain, only about 15% of the population lived in towns or cities. By 1900, it was 85%. This meant that thousands upon thousands of people suddenly needed food and shelter in cities, which led to an outbreak of poverty.
  • Models of co-living have been explored through philosophical means by the upper class since Plato.
  • Various models have been tested but never endured time. Due to several factors.
  • The modern coliving movement is the first time we’ve seen cohousing operate with the underlying impetus to give people a convenient and flexible space to learn, share and grow to better their future.



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Alexandra Plesner

Alexandra Plesner

Austrian creative strategist primary based in London, working worldwide.