CLM discuss: How co-living communities will replace our empty offices…

In 2021 we will increasingly work and socialise in connected local communities with communal laundry and catering facilities.

For hundreds of years, human beings lived, worked and played in local, intergenerational communities. That changed with industrialisation luring people to cities and leaving their families behind. In 2020, however, we returned to the former way of living. Across the globe, Covid-19 has changed how we interact with friends, families and co-workers, basing ourselves predominantly in our homes and connecting with colleagues, shops and services via the internet. It is thought that 2021 will see this way of living increase.

Some of these drivers are pre-Covid, but they are likely to be strengthened by the pandemic. In 2019, nearly two thirds of businesses had adopted some form of flexible work policy. Now cities such as London, Paris and New York are exploring new ways of urban living with conversion of office space into residential hubs to follow, with these spaces supporting wider community activities and shared facilities to increase sustainability.

It is not just offices that will become connected, mixed-use communities. Even before the pandemic, many UK developers were looking to convert retail outlets into housing in response to the changing high street. John Lewis and IKEA are both seeking to retrofit retail space into a mix of private, affordable and social housing. This aligns with a 2020 report by the Social Market Foundation, a public-policy think-tank, which argues that the UK government should look to turn empty shopping parades into residential hubs. It concludes that replacing this commercial space with residential property could create 800,000 additional homes. In 2021, office parks and shopping arcades will become residential hubs with local work, retail, care and leisure spaces, providing communal facilities for residents.

The extension of intergenerational shared sites is starting to take shape around the UK. Take Marmalade Lane in Cambridge, a cohousing development of families, young workers and older adults, who jointly manage their living environment with communal laundry and kitchen facilities. This trend will continue well into 2021 and beyond.

Communal laundries are being developed more commonly and will be more sustainable but great thought will have to be put in to not just energy efficiencies but safe-guarding residents to insure high-quality, sanitary and safe conditions are provided.

CLM provide industry leading communal washers and dryers with the highest levels of energy efficiency and “bullet proof” options to ensure residents are 100% safe from any cross-contamination including anti-bacterial materials meaning viruses cannot linger and areas are kept free from bacterial accumulation risks.

To find out more, regarding how CLM can help housing associations, councils, developers and landlords with communal laundry, kitchen and lighting solutions, please email: