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Co-living? July 19, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Jennifer O’Connell spent a half page in the Irish Times earlier in the month examining co-living. Coming away from it I had the impression that there’s a perhaps deliberate confusion over the issue of co-living. Continually people point to it as being analogous to house-sharing by young adults. But that’s not at all true. I shared houses in London in the early 1990s as did this person quoted:

In the right circumstances, living with other adults can be a positive experience, says Ronan Farrelly, who works in finance and spent all of his late 20s and 30s living in more organic co-living type arrangements in London. Sharing a large three bedroom apartment with strangers was a choice he made because it allowed him to live in a location he couldn’t otherwise afford. The social aspect of it was also appealing.

Problem is that that is very very different, two, three or four people in a house share, from co-living, where as O’Connell notes:

Mike Flannery, chief executive of Bartra, which was founded by Richard Barrett and is behind the Dún Laoghaire site, is frustrated by the focus on the fold-out beds and the 42 people sharing a kitchen. “What this is about is about choice. It’s not about solving the housing crisis in one fell swoop,” he says.

I found it wearing at times to share a kitchen with three/four/five other people (depending upon boy or girlfriends staying over). I cannot imagine what it would be like sharing with 41 other people. Or even this doesn’t seem to offer much in the way of comfort:

“In Dún Laoghaire, every floor has two communal areas – there’s a dining and cooking area, and the other is a lounge relaxation area. There are 40 rooms per floor, but there isn’t [just] a single kitchen [in the traditional sense]. There’s a single large kitchen area, with multiple hobs, sinks, food preparation areas. So five or six people could be cooking at one time.”

Five or six – eh?

A similar dynamic kicked in in regard to other facilities – watching television, having friends over for a meal or whatever? That shared space could seem awful cramped fairly quickly. And there was the issue of negotiating the space in a way that was fair to everyone. This rings true – the account of someone who was six months in a co-living project in France:

“There were about 80 people sharing a single small kitchen,” which was “bonkers” and, for a woman on her own in a predominantly male environment, “intimidating”. “I would send my boyfriend down to get a yoghurt out of the fridge, because I hated going in there.”

But I was, like the others, in London something of a tourist – in the sense that I was passing through. This would never be long term. The house itself was fantastic, three stories high, in a modern terrace and with a basement garage. And the person who was in France bears this out:

But overall, co-living was a positive experience, offering a convenient and affordable place to live, and the chance to make friends. “It’s a good layover type situation for foreign students and young working people. There were people there for two years, but for most of us, it was just a few months.”

Which is telling. As is the following – in Dublin we’re not talking like and like with other places:

One crucial difference was the affordability factor. She paid about €300 a month for her room in the scheme. If a similar option existed in Dublin, she’d consider it – but not at €1,300 a month.

That makes little or no sense, sinking significant sums across the years into a place that, as one person BTL notes is really a sort of souped up hostel ‘with no off-ramp’. And there’s another aspect which is that this is of no use at all for those who have moved into different configurations in their lives – as happens to many across the years. It feels very very much like a cash grab for a certain demographic.


1. EWI - July 19, 2019

Wait a minute, I’ve got to go find the world’s smallest violin for Mike’s ‘frustration’ that he can’t pack in tenants – paying full whack – like sardines.

This has been directly engineered by FG, who threatened to refuse DLRCC’s last development plan unless they shredded space requirements.


WorldbyStorm - July 19, 2019

If I don’t find it first – absurd isn’t it?


kestrel - July 19, 2019

some time back i know an investor who was actually so unctious that he was decrying (to a v.v.poor older tenant) about His Burden of E1M for his four storey investment property.
You could not make it up with these people.
And then, a good article in the Daily Telegraph, that had the strength to describe these Buy to Let investors as “parasites”.
As for Fine Gael, even Mario Puzo would be taken aback; have FG lost completely any sort of christianity whatsoever in regard to the people of this State?
But I bet they have not…. when it comes to their own “family”.


WorldbyStorm - July 19, 2019

It’s unbelievable the self pity from those quarters


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