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News & Press: 2019 News Items

Ownership Lite. Is this the future of housing?

Saturday, 15 June 2019  
Posted by: Bert vd Heever
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On Thursday the latest Mindbullet from FutureWorld caught my eye.

It was datelined 2 June 2024 and the headline read:

Sharing homes and lives, not just power drills

Housing - is this the future"Co-living has been on the block for a while, but it's no longer a fringe phenomenon. You won't see singles scouting for bachelor flats or studio apartments. Instead, digital nomads are co-living by choice, opting for shared residences that are part dorm and part hotel, giving their inhabitants private bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, but communal kitchens and living rooms.

It's quite a stretch from renting out your power drill in the sharing economy, to sharing home life 24/7, but multiple developments have helped shared living to cross the threshold.

In the past, the ultimate achievement of adulthood was to own your own home, but rising property prices in places like Amsterdam, Melbourne and Hong Kong have made this near impossible for most. For tenants, sky-high rents and inadequate housing supply have led to many sleepless nights. People claim to be feeling lonelier than ever, yet the mobility that so-called global citizens can enjoy means they prefer 'pack-up-and-go' that's easy and effortless.

Priya Pravesh, a 29-year-old software engineer who lives in a co-house in Mumbai, says her generation is really redefining consumption. "My parents started collecting white goods since their wedding; I don't even have my own linen closet!" At the end of the month when her lease expires, she's off to Frankfurt with just her clothes and her tech. Nothing goes into storage and everything she rented from IKEA to furnish her room is returned to sender.

After all, who needs ownership, when you have access to all the things you need, on demand, just by swiping and tapping a screen? Since Uber and Airbnb showed the way, more and more participants in the gig economy are making their domestic arrangements exactly that - a series of gigs, of indeterminate length.
Is there a price to not being tied down? Priya answers "no way," but sociologists aren't sure... yet. In the meantime, innovative businesses are cashing in on the new trend to eschew ownership for (temporary) possession of goods and homes." (Published: 13 June 2019)

FutureWorld provides strategic insight and thought leadership interventions to top companies around the world, their free weekly email Newsflashes from the Future is a tool to help our clients stay in touch with the latest trends and thinking in the FutureWorld network.

The articles on which this scenario is based makes for equally interesting reading:

They See It. They Like It. They Want It. They Rent It. - The New York Times, 8 June 2019
The Affluent Homeless: A Sleeping Pod, A Hired Desk And A Handful Of Clothes - NPR, 23 April 2019
In Stockholm, a Turn to Sharing Homes - The New York Times, 16 April 2019
Living with strangers holds key to housing crisis and loneliness - The Times, 26 February 2019
Why You May Be Renting Your Next Kitchen Sink From Ikea - Fortune, 5 February 2019
We’ll soon co-live in apartments in much the same way we co-work - Quartz, 17 October 2018