Enhancing social and individual sustainability in urban co-living
International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis
Article publication date: 4 January 2021
Issue publication date: 12 November 2021
Urbanisation is trending globally, leading to population densification and housing shortage and people living increasingly in isolation. This entails challenges to sustainable development including ecological, social and well-being issues. This paper aims to evaluate the effects of a six-month onboarding self-leadership programme including exercises in mindfulness and acceptance and commitment therapy, amongst residents in a co-living space (n = 24) and a waiting list (n = 21).
At baseline and post-intervention, participants filled out questionnaires and two waves of in-depth interviews (n = 24) were conducted. Repeated measures one-way analysis of variance and thematic text analyses were performed.
Participation in the programme significantly (all ps < 0.000 to 0.050) improved relationship quality and communication about one’s needs regarding work-non-work boundaries, especially amongst residents at the co-living space. Moreover, programme participation significantly increased perceived work-non-work boundary control, work-life balance, psychological well-being, psychological flexibility and self-compassion, with effect sizes (hp2) in the medium to the large range (0.14 to 0.39). Qualitative findings suggested that increased psychological flexibility and self-compassion encouraged co-living residents to be more vulnerable and trusting, which enabled communication regarding one’s needs and enhanced mutual social support and relationship quality. This, in turn, improved overall boundary management, work-life balance and well-being.
Co-living settings – while contributing to overall sustainable development through more efficient use of space and resources – can also contribute to societal and individual sustainability. However, to ensure this contribution, the physical environment including private areas and common and semi-public areas, as well as the socio-emotional environment need to be considered.
Funding: Vinnova (Tech farm: space-efficient co-living 2.0, Dnr 2016–03766).
Mellner, C., Niemi, M., Pollanen, E. and Osika, W. (2021), "Enhancing social and individual sustainability in urban co-living", International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis, Vol. 14 No. 5, pp. 1129-1144. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJHMA-09-2020-0117
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