It’s the dream of the digital nomad. Work where you want, roll a global identity, connect with others from around the world.
The advent of co-working and digital nomadism created a narrative that we can all be ‘entrepreneurs’ simply because we can wake up when we want, work on our projects anywhere, and proclaim freedom!
Something is missing though from this lifestyle. Something very important.
Community and the #Joiedevivre
While the digital nomadic lifestyle enables a certain level of freedom, it also has its drawbacks. It’s predicated on freelance digital contract work that mainly takes place through a screen in emotional solitude, even when others are physically present in the same space. While some freelancers may make good, steady income, there are many who don’t, making it nearly impossible to place roots, find love, and form families. The perpetual journey, physically, leads to the inability to experience true joie de vivre, which emerges from community structures, financial security, and a deep connection to a local environment.
We are wired to be social beings; we all have a desire for community, human touch, and collective purpose. Pre-industrial revolution, this was represented by villages and the maker lifestyle where the collective purpose was the mere survival of the village. The industrial revolution over the last century has created a push into cities, which consequently unwound the social structure of village lifestyle and a transition from collective purpose to individual ambition. To experience joie de vivre in its fullest form, we must become …
Coliving is a reflection of the desire for a real lifestyle in community. Common purpose, a social structure, a like-minded group of individuals, all living in the same space and helping one another to achieve certain ambitions.
We see various forms of co-living communities emerging. Bigger projects like The Collective appealing to a more affluent section of Millennials living in cities like London:
SwissEscape is a more free-form and organic version of co-living for a small community of co-livers in a village in the Swiss Alps:
Beyond simply wanting to do things together, why oh why is our generation in need of a co-living revolution?
Here’s a blunt assessment of the state affairs from someone within our generation:
We could talk about the same trend in all the major cities globally. In a world where we ‘manage’ our friends and family on our mobile devices and have access to any type of content we want 24/7, how could we possibly be lonely?
Because it’s taboo for someone young and ‘on the beat’ to be lonely. It’s not cool when you can Netflix your way through a solitary night, find a date on Tinder, or mindlessly scroll through content on Facebook. But loneliness is an epidemic of this generation and the remedy is human touch and the creation of new communities.
If cities are these large, impersonal structures that isolate so many people and stress us out to the point where we have no time for one another, then Villes are the opposite.