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This event is part of a spring 2019 series called The Housing System.
Living with roommates is a workaday arrangement in New York City, arrived at for reasons of cost, convenience, or housing availability. About a quarter of the city’s housing is shared by roommates, and more than one in 12 units are officially designated as “crowded.” We’re often stuck making a few standard forms fit our diverse needs—and then figuring out how to divvy up space in the fridge.
Collective housing has a long history globally, from longhouses to baugruppen to cooperatives, but today’s arrangements are often more ad hoc than intentional. That’s changing, though. There’s a lot of hype for coliving, in which companies lease out individual rooms in a building; city government is reviewing how shared arrangements could fit into its overall housing strategy; and groups around the city are exploring communal possibilities, from cohousing to land trusts. Yet how are the benefits of shared living, including community and flexibility, balanced with the potential drawbacks, such as lack of privacy and the need for lifestyle compromises? This event will examine questions of living together, including affordability, equity, design, management strategies, and different models of communality.