How do we successfully integrate digital nomads and expats into local communities? Where are the tensions and the opportunities? What are some of the tools we can use to create value for all stakeholders?
And the bigger question as we zoom out of the Digital Nomad sphere – how do we reap the benefits of the more connected world while ensuring that no one is left behind?
I see Coliving, Coworking, and “Third spaces” take on a particularly important role to solve these issues as they become platforms for connected and equitable communities. Coliving spaces have the potential to alleviate the pressures on local housing while acting as containers for connection, collaboration, experience and skills exchange, forging genuine bonds between travelers and locals.
The need for more flexible housing and the power of communal living has spurred an increasing interest in Coliving from both consumers and the real estate industry. The sector has been gaining momentum since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic with more and more funding from both private and institutional investors as well as wider consumer adoption.
Purpose built Coliving spaces are not only designed to cater to the needs of location independent people but because of their nature being midterm housing, can help relieve some of the pressure on the limited housing stock, particularly in cities.
Coliving is a great way to achieve community buy-in for programs aimed to attract digital nomads and remote workers as these types of spaces help decrease competition for housing between locals and nomads.
Creating these types of spaces in rural areas is an excellent way of making more remote destinations attractive to nomads – the ready-made “family home” provides community and accommodation that is fully optimized to their needs – the two primary concerns when considering a location.
Every new rural hub lightens the load on cities and popular Digital Nomad locations while also helping people discover new and amazing places.
In addition, Coliving spaces tend to act as bridges facilitating social interaction and sparking genuine connection between the residents and locals – they typically have a local community manager and events that are open to the public.
Coworking spaces help open doors to professional opportunities ranging from skill and experience exchange to mentorships and partnerships.
As these spaces operate in the professional realm, their role is to be as inclusive as possible, while thoughtfully curating the community, the conversations, the guest speakers, and events. At their best, community managers are so in tune with their members and the larger community, they can make impactful introductions and initiate programs and activities around business and learning opportunities.
A powerful addition to these spaces are communities. Some are local and others global. Some emerge spontaneously and others are carefully planned and put into action with a specific purpose in mind.
Thanks to the global economy, free movement of people, the proliferation of remote work, the world is connected and our societies increasingly mixed. The change is already here, there is no point denying it or yearning for the good ol’ days of nation states and the nuclear family home – they served few and are never coming back.
What we need to do now is embrace our very human needs of freedom and connection and build new societies and paradigms that benefit all stakeholders.