Monday, June 18, 2012

Coliving resurrected

Well, coliving — pooling to share a commons — never died, but after the Seventies, it was largely an underground phenomenon that most mainstream people would have been unaware of. I lived in shared housing with other people as much in my adult life as not, and it began in the military, the US Navy to be exact. You can't find much more of a coliving experience than on a naval vessel, and several of the junior officers would pool to rent a nice beach house while we were on rotation in the the US. So it was good practice for things to come.
Communes and group living were widely associated with DFH's in the Sixties and Seventies, and there was a lot of truth to that. But there were also a lot of professionals from virtually all fields, in addition to the usual suspects like artists and musicians. At one time or another, I colived with professors of different disciplines, physicists, engineers, lawyers, artists, musicians, CPA's, physicians, IT professionals, business people, and assorted canine and feline companions. No economists or financial types, though, as far as I can recall. 
Pooling resources in a commons generates a lot of leverage, and cooperation and coordination allows for living way beyond one's individual means unless one is born to wealth. But it goes far beyond just sharing space and stuff as a type of alternative housing. It is really about creating community based on sharing in a commons that was intentionally constructed and nurtured.
In the following post, Jessica Reeder narrates how this lifestyle is again coming to the fore in a new generation.
Read it at Shareable | Work and Living

Hacking Home: Coliving Reinvents the Commune for a Networked Age
By Jessica Reeder
In 2006, Jessy Kate Schingler and four other young engineers landed jobs at NASA’s Ames Research Center. They suddenly needed a place to live in Silicon Valley, but rather than opt for cheap housing with a long commute, they pooled their resources and rented a palatial 5,000 square foot property in Cupertino. The Rainbow Mansion was born.
It was more than just a luxury home full of brilliant young minds. Dubbed “an intentional community”, The Rainbow Mansion was an experiment in a new type of cohabitation. The house began hosting hackathons and salons in its library, inviting Silicon Valley’s best and brightest to participate. “Right away it set itself in motion,” Schingler says. “It had this sort of accidental mystique about it." 
In the six years since, the Rainbow Mansion has housed 60 people from 12 countries, along with employees from Google, Apple and Tesla. One of Schingler’s cofounders, Chris Kemp, became CTO of IT at NASA. And Schingler herself has become an advocate of coliving, the practice of bringing extraordinary people under one roof to live, work and change the world together.

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