2Q2019 / WK 16-18: Agenda / goals this week

04/29/19: #CoLynning Update: PopUp CoLiving Room explores shared living as an affordable housing strategy & more

As the Daily Item reported Friday, the state’s new secretary of Housing and Economic Development visited Lynn last week and "pledged to assist the city’s renaissance."  The housing challenge from his perspective:  statewide production has fallen by half over past decades; while nationwide, the size of homes has tripled, rising from 300 square feet per person to 900/SF in a single generation.  The result — housing prices have increased 75% in the Baystate since 1999, and “the annual salary needed to afford the median price home in Boston is more than $106,000” (Banker & Tradesman).  That pits babyboomers who cannot afford to downsize against Millennials who cannot afford their first homes.  Meanwhile, there are 44 million vacant bedrooms nationwide, including many in oversized homes in the Diamond District.  

Can shared living relieve the pressure on housing prices, particularly if intergenerational communities reduce housing costs and create other savings, not just by sharing space, but transportation, meals and maybe even child care?  

We used National CoHousing Open House Day to explore those questions at our PopUp Living Room.  Despite high winds, cool temperatures and the threat of rain, the outdoor seating was warmly received at Ironbound's blockpARTy, the kick-off event for #ArtWeekLYNN.  Our preliminary video captures some of the heartwarming energy, and why we're eager to host more PopUp CoLiving Rooms to explore different models of shared living:

IMG_5636.JPG 3.31 MB View full-size Download

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joined_video_0b4f65cc94864197bf454aa2150309c6.mp4 10.3 MB View full-size Download

Use this link if you’d like to share the one minute video of the PopUp CoLynning Room above:


Invite feedback to the questions below via email, comments if you're accessing this on Basecamp, or in person if you'd like to talk before or after the #ArtWeekLYNN event TONIGHT at Lynn City Hall, 6pm:


1.  Should we discuss shared Live / Work Spaces for Artists before ArtWeek ends

2. Should we piggyback on one of the existing events in Lynn, or create our own event?

3.  David Gass, a community organizer / affordable housing developer we met over the weekend who is now part of this list, offered to share his experience with similar efforts in the past.  Who else should we invite to be part of the roundtable?  Annette, Tia, Joe Mulligan & Jon Seward what's the best way to connect to what you're already exploring?

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More media buzz about different forms of CoLiving from the past week:

1.  An article in the NYPost was so popular it was trending but it focuses on “Millennial Resorts” that most would say are too pricey for Lynn:


2. Bungalow's debut in Boston has created some of local coverage.  Excerpts from a number of articles and their own words put their product, mission, and positioning into context:

Our radical business model has helped us bring more housing units to market faster and with far less capital than any developer... We do this by unlocking access to untapped housing capacity (single-family homes), and reallocating it for multi-unit rentals (more rooms for more people). 


The startup leases large single-family homes, 15 properties across Back Bay, Charlestown and Cambridge and rents out individual rooms from $800-$1300. 

Bungalow’s draw is the convenience factor – where tenants have the ability to move between homes within cities and even between cities without having to break a lease. They do, however, have to give 60 days notice before vacating. 

Is their model little more than roommate groups on venture capital -- $64M?  Here's what they told Housing Wire:

Forget living with strangers — our residents and applicants have a chance to get to know each other through house “meet and greets” before taking the plunge and becoming roommates. We also organize awesome events at highly-rated attractions so that our tenants have an open gate to experiencing the city they’ve moved to.


3.  If Bungalow's model doesn't fit your need for personal space, deeper connections or ownership, this podcast has good news:

“...the possibilities for cohousing are as diverse as their settings and the folks who choose to live there. (There’s a mixed-income bike-sharing condo community in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood and a rural cabin community eight miles west of Fairbanks, Alaska!)


We're eager to explore a range of shared living options, and delighted that our first effort -- the PopUp CoLiving Room was so well received.  Invite feedback and requests for future programming or field visits below.

Bill Wendel