The Logistics of Harmonious Co-living : Exploring contemporary co-living through design interventions.
Abstract: Contemporary co-living, as an accommodation alternative, is in a unique position to provide social fulfilment and sustainable development through sharing and community generation. However, it is increasingly clear that there is a lack of understanding of the realities of these spaces, and that this limiting the commercial application of the co-living model. Existing architecture, artefacts, and services are failing to accommodate the needs and objectives of collective users. Therefore, to experience the full ecological, social, and economic benefits of co-living, research must be performed to understand how residents share, experience, and inhabit space. This project responds by applying design thinking and collaborative exploration methods to produce case studies for two contrasting co-living developments in London, UK. Workshops, observations, literature research, and interviews build a foundation of contemporary knowledge. This inspires the design of an exploratory, pedagogical tool, in the form of a modular furniture collection. On top of its physical functionality, it offers developers the opportunity to learn and experiment towards a better understanding of how residents utilise space and resources. A prototype is built and tested with both case study sites acting as Living Labs. The design intervention produces a positive increase in resident well-being and confidence in interacting with the space around them. Moreover, developers confirm an increased understanding of the resident's needs and actions. The success of the project shows the role design can play in contemporary research, positive change, and sustainable development. The results have implications for co-living providers, researchers, and designers supporting sustainable lifestyle alternatives.
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