All over the world, renting is synonymous with suffering. Either you pay exorbitant amounts to live in a matchbox in the city, or you perch on the outer rim of the known world, spending time and money sardined into subways and trains as your commute to where the action is. With the former, you are isolated and alone, holed-up in a tiny space that fits only a bed, some folded t-shirts and the quarter-part of your despair, and with the latter…sure, maybe you get to raise some bantam hens, but three hours of commuting a day doesn’t make for a nice life.

But what if we could live differently? Affordably, centrally and sustainably, in beautiful, carefully-curated spaces alongside people we actually connect with?

Enter co-living.

Co-living is shared housing for people who want to live and work with purpose. Popular in Europe and North America, it’s the latest manifestation of the age-old desire to live well and to live with others, though with a hipster, millennial twist. The emphasis here is on ease and efficiency, good design, and creating spaces that facilitate meaningful connections between people. 

Co-living can take many forms, but there are a few things that all co-living spaces will share: private rooms, extensive amenities, shared communal areas in which people can work and relax and a genuine sense of community. Think something between a college residence (but cleaner and more mature), a co-op (without the nits and confusing love-triangles), your parents inner-city apartment with its 24 hour concierge, pool and Miele-equipped super-kitchen (without the price-tag and isolation) and the Google office environment (sans entrance exams but with the beanbags.)

It’s about feeling yourself to be part of something bigger.

The emergence of co-living is the result of deep shifts in the way we live and work. Young people today don’t want the same life as their parents. They stay single for longer, savour their independence, and seek job flexibility. Add to this big shifts in the world of work — some experts estimate that by 2020 40 percent of all work will be freelance — and sky-rocketing real estate prices, and you get the conditions for a new kind of living. 

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Casa Campus – An Argentine Take On Co-living

Casa Campus is the Argentine incarnation of a world-wide trend. The first of its kind in Latin America, this young company manages a co-living space in Pilar since 2014, just meters from the Austral University. There are currently 140 young people living here, and the company is aiming to build 160 new spots by the end of this year.

But Casa Campus’s ambitions are broad. Having already raised USD $20 million in start-up capital, the company is opening further spaces in Buenos Aires in June of this year. Casa Campus San Telmo is located in Buenos Aires’ historic heart, San Telmo, close to the Plaza Dorrego and ultra-modern Puerto Madero. Equipped with all the amenities, it has space for 100 residents. Meanwhile, Casa Campus Congreso, located in bustling Congreso, will house 200 residents, guests and visitors. The company also has eyes on the rest of Latin America, with plans to expand into Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru in the next five years.

One of the main perks of Casa Campus is an uncomplicated yet experientially rich life. For a one-off payment of about USD $800 a month, residents at Casa Campus get a private room in an artfully-designed space with all expenses covered. Shared rooms go for around USD $500 a month. There’s a concierge, 24-hr security, and the list of facilities positively sprawls: a pool, terrace, event hall, mini-market, jacuzzi, restaurant-bar, gym, laundromats, shared reading, cooking and relaxation areas, and an ample garden. And much of it is powered by renewable energy, in keeping with the start-ups aim to be “sustainable.”

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The campuses are close to universities, appealing to the almost 40,000 international students that choose to study in Argentina.  “For foreign students, it represents the possibility to share spaces and moments with other students outside of the classroom. It’s an excellent opportunity for cultural experience and integration, something  that all international students seek,” says Marcelo Meregalli, the Director of International Relations at Austral University.

Photo via Casa Campus
Photo via Casa Campus

But it’s also for the “young (in age or spirit).” Casa Campus is a blend of millenials, digital nomads, freelancers, and travellers. Some stay for three days and others stay for the duration of their university studies.

A house for the mind and heart, big enough for a whole community and equipped with the latest technology. Sure beats the isolation of your monoambiente with nothing to keep you company but Netflix.