Our world today lives in an era of trends – those that get set by the week and are off by the next, some that have global impacts overnight, whilst some wither before they can leave the place of origin. Some trends are subjective, playing audience to only a select few, making them exclusive and even more sought after. However, some, and by which I mean our topic for the day, pertain to every single individual, and like it or not, becomes very much a part of our lives. This genre of trends has a deep-rooted origin in society. One that cannot be overruled or ignored. It has merely evolved with each generation and made a comeback every single time, proving how detrimental it is to our society and us. This ‘mega trend’ I am going to be taking about is ‘Community’.
Community has always been a part of our lives for as long as history tells us. Man is a social animal, and hence, has every bit an interest in being part of a group, and in essence, forming a community. Today, the word community has in fact found a place in various genres. It reflects the growing understanding that the right to live, to go to school, to work, to enjoy recreation and to be active in retirement belongs to all, and that living in a symbiotic relationship amongst the rest only helps facilitate this all the more.
Feeding off the strengths of others is what gives a community its definition. The word I used earlier, ‘Symbiotic’, is aptly used to describe the similar function within our natural world. A direct definition of the term ‘Symbios’ is, “interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.” We see this in the animal world, in the neighborhoods, in our families and sometimes even between nations. Hence, it was only a matter of time before this philosophy made it big and into our daily lives in a more organized and sought-after way.
Where are the communities you ask? Look around you. The way people live is being re-defined. Co-Living is now the most sought after choice of living when finding a place to live in a new city. Co-working has somehow found its way into every small town, almost eradicating the concept of a private office. Co-creating and collaborations are the new business models for a number of new startups. Moreover, all that these ideas have in common is the fact that an individual can directly feed off the talent of individuals whilst directly pooling into the talent pool themselves. It is a win-win for everyone and quite honestly, it is a more fun way of getting about the day.
To understand this idea a bit more, let’s dwell into two of the most common communities and their concepts and de-construct the basic essence of the philosophy.
Co-Living or Communal Living has been seen gaining momentum over the past few years in a very big way. With startups springing every month to local homeowners opening their homes to visitors, it’s the way of the millennials and is seemingly growing, seeing as how content residents are seen leaving. While this particular concept is largely restricted to the age groups of 20-40, it is fast making its way to the rest of the sphere with a few adaptive measures. Overall, people keep up with fads in food, fashion or fitness and it only makes sense to stay in tune with the hot new millennial housing trend. Communal living or co-living – where the like-minded are grouped together in buildings or floors to live in independent studio apartments with larger shared spaces like centralized kitchens and laundry rooms – is the new grammar in real estate design in Bengaluru.
Whilst largely, the majority of the folk choose a more conventional approach to living in a space they can call home, the idea of co-living has seen skipping a generation and finding its way again in the concept of a retirement home. With ample time to spare around and state-of-the-art facilities, this concept is the answer to the age-old ‘retirement’ problem. To sum up, choosing this lifestyle allows you to taste the same slice of life with people on the same boat and on the same page.
This one has taken over the perception of office spaces over the past decade. High-speed Wi-Fi to game zones, these workspaces are a welcome break from the regular offices or even the buzzing cafes. Again, the idea of sharing resources and creating a central hub of knowledge is hot amongst the millennials. Not only are they feeding off the talent and resources, but one’s take on why these spaces are so popular is that it is the energy that everyone thrives under. With 40% of the population in Cochin being millennials, this concept is a hot bed for collective working environments and networking opportunities. Not to forget, the low startup capital helps its cause too. With hot desk facilities starting at basic rates, one can opt to move up whilst enjoying the benefits the community has to offer. It is an experience worth diving into. And with evolved planning and office space hierarchy, these co-working spaces have managed to create a layout that enables large companies to cordon off a space within the office whilst being part of the larger picture. This way, they get to enjoy the best of both worlds –a private office environment and a thriving high-energy office community.
Again, another activity that is grown out of sheer necessity and living in the present. Car-pooling or travel sharing was once restricted to private vehicle usage, but now, the same is seen being commercialized with private vehicle-hiring companies, and for all the good intentions! More often than most, cabs are seen ferrying a single individual across town. By this service, one can opt to be picked up at a given location, the cab keeps picking and dropping customers as it goes on its way. A well-defined algorithm takes care of the route allotment based on the pick-up and drop locations, so that more than one person travels in a car. Not only does this reduce each person’s travel costs, such as fuel costs, tolls, and the stress of driving, but carpooling is also a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way to travel, as sharing journeys reduces air pollution, carbon emissions, traffic congestion on the roads, and the need for parking spaces.
With Cochin heading directly in the projectile of this instantaneous growth of community spaces, it is a huge win for the society and the city at large. In its own way, this whole idea of shared spaces and symbiotic living is in fact sustainable in its own right and has a world of a future in the coming days.