Living in the flexible city: understanding the socioeconomic implications of corporate co-living
Dr David Madden (Department of Sociology) and Dr Sam Friedman (Department of Sociology)
Urban Change; Housing; Digital Transformations; Inequality; Precarity
This project examines a pivotal response to the intensifying housing crises facing major cities: the proliferation of corporate ‘co-living’ spaces. Rather than supply individualised housing units, co-living companies offer high-end communal spaces, flexible rental contracts, and extensive networked services as a trade-off for small private units. Championing access over ownership, they aim to attract young professionals seeking ultra-flexible, streamlined city living. Widely seen as a residential extension of the booming ‘co-working’ phenomenon, the co-living industry is attracting considerable venture capital and private equity investment.
Using a range of methods – including interviews with industry professionals, ethnography and discourse analysis – the project aims to empirically investigate the societal implications of the co-living phenomenon. In so doing, it seeks to reveal insights about the changing nature of housing and work in cities more generally, including digital transformations, labour flexibilisation and socio-spatial inequalities.