Communal living has gotten a makeover and young adults in big cities are catching the vision. Common, WeLive, Pure House and other startups have reshaped the traditional co-living concept and made it hip for young professionals.

In a New Yorker article titled “Happy Together,” Lizzie Widdicombe explains that in a typical setup, residents rent a private room but share bathroom, kitchen, and living room space with others on their floor. Modern conveniences, social activities, and posh interiors are a draw for residents looking for more than a roommate. The creativity of these startups in repackaging communal life for city dwellers is to be commended but it also raises questions. Are co-living residents merely avoiding adulthood by prolonging a college dorm lifestyle? Does communal living fill the familial void many have in our transient society? In this fast chat Ounce of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss the pros and cons of the co-living movement.

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Persuasion is produced by Jonathan R. Clauson

Additional Reading:

Happy TogetherThe New Yorker


Theme music by Maiden Name.


  1. I haven’t read the article, but it makes me think of rooming houses. That has been a part of US culture, pretty much throughout history.

    It sounds like this article frames it as continuing of college or like retirement community. But is that a result of ignorance of rooming houses. Many of them were very structured, especially for women, with curfews and house parents.

    I do think you are right that this seems like it is fulfilling a need for community. I wonder how much turn over there is among these communities. I would guess that there is really not a lot of long term residents.

    I do think culture idealizes the separate nuclear family and is demeaning millennials that are doing thing that have happened for generations. Alan Jacobs had a post about how his own family lived with his grandparents and then it was really his grandparents that were living with parents in a multi generational home for all of his growing up years. He suggested what was new was the shaming, not the reality of adult children living with parents because of social situations or income or convenience or child rearing.

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