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Co-living, co-working: new trends or new life ambitions?

The new ways of working are changing the way we view our workplaces and with the adoption of environmental concerns are giving rise to a whole new way of looking at ones “home”. New trends or new ambitions?

Areas redesigned as fully-fledged living spaces are springing up on the outskirts of cities. The new ways of working are changing the way we view our workplaces and with the adoption of environmental issues are giving rise to a whole new way of looking at ones “home”. New trends or new ambitions?

The terms co-living and co-working have become popular in the property sector. The first refers to sharing common living spaces that go beyond the corridor of a block, while keeping one’s own private flat. The second is the use of a shared workspace which enables the exchange of views and collaboration between employees of the same company but also those of other organisations. New ways of working that have, among other things, found a special place in the new neighbourhoods. Barbara Brecko of Gingko Solutions et Aurélien Dobbels et Nicolas Legay, founders of Cocoonut, explain why these new formulas work and why they should be required in the way new spaces are designed.

A trend already here

According to Barbara Brecko from Gingko Solutions which provides workspace solutions, the trend towards sharing space with other employees dates back more than five years. “There has been a big wave in the United States and in Europe, they used to be called business centres.” The Managing Director of Gingko Solutions talks about open spaces, spaces to share experiences, a way of working completely different from the classical individual office.

Aurélien Dobbels co-founder of Cocoonut, a Luxembourg-based co-living company, also talks about space, but rather the space that separates the home and the workplace. “What we are looking for more globally with the co-living solutions, is areas that are close to the economic and financial centres.” If these ways of co-living in one’s neighbourhood but also in the professional environment work, it is because of the practicality and flexibility of these places.

Just one watchword: flexibility

“Most of the people who come to us, who contact us, are people who come from abroad,” explains Nicolas Legay. “The stereotype that we imagined as a client has materialised: the people who work for the Big Four, who arrive to work in the law firms, in banks, for GAFA.” For the co-founder of Cocoonut, the potential clients for these co-living spaces are primarily looking for practical solutions. “By practical, we mean furnished flats, with few financial constraints.” This includes security deposits of only one month and leases adapted to the short term. Flexible premises designed for emerging issues, with a focus on “the whole environmental aspect, reducing water, electricity and gas consumption.”

On the co-working side, Barbara Brecko stresses the importance of reducing space. “Offices are getting too large, too vast, to work in, especially with working from home.” The Managing Director of Gingko Solutions also talks about new ways of living in the office. “We try to organise events so that the newcomers can meet those who are already here, to have professional and personal synergy.” With also the development of spaces such as fitness rooms or restaurants.

“The northern countries were the precursors of this type of structure. I was in Amsterdam about fifteen years ago, they were constructing spaces with a day nursery next door, restaurants, co-working spaces. And it was on the outskirts of a city, a bit like the Belval quarter.”

“Neighbourhoods of the future”

When Barbara Brecko talks about the example of the Belval quarter, she emphasises mobility in particular, “Belval was something of a precursor, we said to ourselves, it’s now or never to move there, and today many of our clients are there because it’s close to the border.” She cites in particular the example of a client who opened a hub in Belval for its employees, while maintaining offices in Luxembourg. For co-living, Aurélien Dobbels also talks about proximity, but rather that of the city centre. “If these areas are not in the immediate vicinity of the economic centres, we try to get them close to a transport hub which will allow the development of soft mobility. We like to think that these are the neighbourhoods of the future.”

The future neighbourhoods may be made up of modern buildings but above all they promise to meet new ambitions for living. The environmental aspect has crept into the population’s new demands for their working and living spaces. It is coupled with an optimised supply of space, offered by ecosystems outside city centres, designed with transport and soft mobility hubs for a direct link to the urban bubble.

Urban gardens, smart cities, eco-neighbourhoods or temporary occupation of urban space, Through the voice of experts, "Tell me more! " is a series that explores new trends.

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