Design should find the balance:
+ share for efficiency
+ share for economy
+ create community
+ share ideas
- retain individualism
- retain ownership and autonomy
- avoid cultish behavior
How could you capitalize on the efficiency of a hostel in apartment or student living? This issue of autonomy over spaces and people cleaning up their mess becomes a big issue. Lets imagine something new:
Individual units consist of just a room at the base model. For more money, you could rent a room with a sink, or even more still a room with a shared bathroom. All usual public space: bathroom, laundry, kitchen, living, and office is shared in one large communal “house”. The cost of the main house is cheaper because the expense of running it is split between a sufficient number of dormitory units. But this may not be subsidized enough yet.
What if, the communal house was a company. You could go to the kitchen to make food or if you were feeling lazy you could grab food from the cafe (an adjacent or semi shared kitchen) and pay for it. This cafe could have a cool vibe, provide wifi, and attract other customers from outside the apartments. Other people or students may come for good coffee, wifi, and study while they do their laundry (another mode to bringing money in). A large kitchen would have locker fridges associated with each unit which may disguise itself as additional cupboards to a modern kitchen. The kitchen could host cooking classes on certain nights, and other similar public gatherings could be scheduled and happen in the communal area of the cafe.
So how to we keep these shared spaces well maintained, with so many people sharing them? There would be a base staff associated the company that could be accounted for in the price of rent of each unit.
Potentially you create a credit system maintained by residents to further lessen the costs of maintaining public areas. For example: a computer system or iPad in the kitchen could allow residents to sign up for in advance or complete chores such as “mop the floor” and receive a credit off of their next months rent for completing a task. When tasks don’t get done they are cleaned up by default by the company running the public space. Of course there would have to be a method for quality to control to monitor people’s honesty for truly completing tasks. This may happen just through peer to peer behavioral patterns. If resident A is mopping and resident B notices they are fibbing the job, resident B calls out resident A and resident A feels embarrassment for selfishness or laziness. Furthermore there may be punishments or fines for making a mess or leaving ones dishes out.
Overall living this way would be a more efficient use of space and respond to more active sociable lifestyles. It wouldn’t be for everyone, but the payoff of sharing more of your life and being part of a community would be worth it.