In theory, no one should ever be lonely in 2019. More than 360 million people have Facebook accounts, and the average Facebook user has 338 friends. That’s literally billions of digital connections – and yet we are more isolated than ever before. How is that possible?
The answer, of course, is that there is no substitute for real, in-person relationships. Being able to see what your classmate from high school had for lunch is fine, but it doesn’t fill the need for actual connections. Unfortunately, in today’s mobile society we are paradoxically surrounded by people and yet devoid of meaningful, deep interactions and friendships. The larger cities are getting, the harder it is to connect with humans. How can we fix this problem?
One of the most effective ways is to fundamentally rethink how we live. When most people move to a new city, the first thing they do is rent an apartment. That’s almost a guaranteed recipe for isolation and unhappiness. And this isn’t just a problem for tenants – it’s a huge issue for property owners and managers because it dramatically increases turnover. In fact, the most important factor in driving rental renewals is if new residents make an authentic friendship in the first few weeks of moving in. This increases the chance of renewal by up to 75%!
Of course, this is easier said than done. Most apartment buildings and multifamily properties have common areas, but let’s be honest: no one really uses them. Today’s residents are looking for amenities that stimulate interaction and community, not fancy recreational spaces that never get used. Having lots of isolated, sad, people in a cluster doesn’t magically make them happier or more connected, That’s why we need to focus on designing buildings where people can connect easily, not based on age or specific demographics but based on MINDSET.
This is where co-living can play a critical role in helping overcome isolation, building real connections, and driving the communities of the future. By its very nature, co-living arrangements encourage social interaction and drive real friendships, not just people who nod to each other in the hallway. THIS is why I’m passionate about these kinds of properties, and why their value goes far beyond the financial upside for property owners.