Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)

Young Urban Singles and Shared Housing

Workshop at University of Amsterdam

17May2018 10:30


The rise of people living on their own for longer in their life is changing how we live and how we house people in cities.

Increasingly, and for varied reasons, sharing housing has becomes a way to reduce costs while pursuing autonomous yet communal living for people in non-family households throughout the life-course. Among young people, longer education careers, precarious early work careers and ‘trial-and-error’ partnering patterns make sharing with strangers or friends a preferred housing arrangement.

In this workshop we will consider the interface between changing life-courses and ‘technologies of housing’ that enable shared living. Our aim is to reflect on changing ideals of home among young urban singles and the role of sharing in facilitating independent housing pathways, as well wider concerns with the precaritisation of rental markets.

Whether proposed as a solution for providing more affordable housing, for reducing social isolation and loneliness, or for enabling creative work, shared forms of accommodation have been gaining appeal in different contexts worldwide. The growth in absolute numbers of young people sharing, however, is more often than not a function of increasingly precarious labour conditions and narrowing opportunities on the housing market. Spatially, contemporary shared living is an eminently urban phenomenon, answering the demands of soaring single populations in large cities, as well as changing work cultures and new ideals of home life. Though sharing comes in many forms, in this special issue we will focus primarily on privately provided shared accommodation such as shared tenancies, flat and house shares offered through peer-to-peer platforms, serviced shared accommodation, co-living, and student housing, in an effort to capture the changing nature of post-crisis private rental markets.

Contemporary sharing is intricately connected to advancing digital technologies that are reshaping urban lifestyle. Online platforms, apps, marketing portals or other digital infrastructure enable people to find and contract housing, as well as manage daily activities of sharing. Digitally connected work cultures increase the mobility and flexibility of ‘creative’ workers and the need for the informal workspaces that some of these shared living formats provide. In sum, contemporary sharing reflects fundamental economic, social, cultural and technological changes that impact life-styles and life-courses of urban populations.

In this workshop we will tackle sharing as mode of living, sharing as a form of housing provision and the intersections between changing life courses and the housing built environments that enable them.


Please contact Richard Ronald if you want to participate. (

Amsterdam University Library, C1.08 (Vondel Hall)

  • Prof. R. (Richard) Ronald

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Published by  AISSR