February 21, 2024

A Brief History of Coliving

In Nigeria, and Africa, the name, co-living is relatively new, but the concept of it is not.

A Brief History of Coliving

The concept of co-living is not a throwback to the 60s or 70s. It can be traced back to thousands of years ago. It is one of the earliest forms of human living arrangement.

The fact that our ancestors knew about this shows its familiarity. The reports show that it has its roots in the early 19th century, but it seems what it did was make a comeback.

The comeback came in the 1970s, and it began in Denmark. A collaboration between an architect and a psychologist revived the concept of co-living. In 1972, the first cohousing community was built. This house accommodated twenty-seven families. 

The concept drew its influence from a 1967 article by Bodil Graae, 'Every child should have 100 parents'. With the collaboration being a massive success in Denmark, the rest, they say, is history.

As significant cities worldwide became more expensive, co-living gained more popularity. The name changed with each new terrain; Tenements in The United Kingdom, Boarding Houses in The United States of America, and Chawls in Western India. Etc.

Now, 1% of the Danish population, about 50,000 people, live in cohousing communities. The concept has evolved over the years, now allowing a lesser number of people to live together. Hence the name 'co-living'.

The focus has also shifted to accommodate some other demographics, from young adults who need affordable places to older people who would rather live with like-minded people.

In Nigeria, and Africa, the name, co-living is relatively new, but the concept of it is not. When the history of communal living is traced back, one can see that the family is only a unit of the community. And it is the spirit of togetherness that kept everyone whole.

Communal living was a norm in many cultures, where one would find families living together in the same compound. But it seems modernity did a number on us.

Fast forward many years later, and now co-living is gaining popularity as the days go by. Considering some factors, one can understand the increasing acceptance of co-living in the country. 

These factors include

- the rising cost of living and accommodation in some major cities,

- the ever-growing number of young professionals moving to these cities in search of greener pastures, and even

- the increasing popularity of remote workers.

The idea of co-living in Nigeria is famous in two ways. The first trend is to look out for a shared room. Here, a bedroom is shared among two or more roommates. A roommate situation is usually the cheaper option, but the downside of zero to no privacy has to be considered.

The other option is to rent a room in a co-living space. Here, you share an apartment with a bunch of people. The common areas to be shared include the sitting room, kitchen, dining room, office, etc. But you also get better privacy because your bedroom is all yours.

All in all, in a matter of years, co-living would be the next big thing. You can take that to the bank.

You can find co-living options in Nigeria on Haap.