This is a slide show that provides you with very high-level insight into what we do at Human City, and some findings from recent research into young people’s housing experiences.

Ok, so this is the context:

  1. We’re facing a crisis;
  2. It is no longer easy for young people on low-middle incomes to find affordable accommodation in global cities; and
  3. Young people are being pushed further and further out.

To date, Human City has done a lot of work on the briefing for and evaluation of co-living spaces in London. This is most frequently posed as affordable / low-cost housing option for young people. I’ll return with a few comments on this at the end.

Tale of Four Cities

Against a backdrop of need for affordable / low-cost housing in global cities, and emergence of solutions such as co-living spaces, we decided to do a bit of research into young people’s experiences to provide our clients with some evidence to develop new products..

We focused on four cities — mainly because these are cities in which members of Human City spend a significant amount of time: New York, Cape Town, Dublin and London.

Nevertheless, residents face similar challenges in these cities:

  1. Landlocked: Cape Town is landlocked, ‘There are only a few ways to get into and out of the city, which means there is rush hour traffic’;
  2. (Semi)migration: These cities attract talent so all the jobs are there, all
    the graduate schemes are mostly there;
  3. Airbnb: In Cape Town, you can imagine if 9,000 rental units are taken off the market in a city, it has a huge impact on the rental prices.

12 interviewees

We carried out 12 hours of interviews — 3 people per city between ages 22 and 33. The average age — 26; and the average distance from work 40 mins

  • Two owned property — part owned / older individuals.
  • Most commonly rented with friends — small groups of two or four;
  • One living in a co-living space — younger/est individual;
  • Three still living in family home — two in London and one in Dublin.

Whilst younger people are flexible, social, and experiential… The people we spoke to wanted:

  1. Permanence — habits and routines [expensive to buy]
  2. Familiarity — networks and community [location dependent]
  3. Seclusion — privacy and alone time [difficult in dense cities]

  • Familiar networks: Networks are important. Familiarity is also important. Millennials will prioritise living in a familiar location close to people they already know.
  • Genuine value: Value for money is important. A nice space is also important. Millennials are prepared to pay a bit more to live in a space that is modern and efficient.
  • Quiet routine: Being sociable is important. Being quiet is also important. Millennials who have a hectic city schedule need access to quiet spaces that are a ‘haven’.
  • Green spaces: All want access to outdoor / green spaces.

Maximise value in Three Steps

Step 1: Housing solutions will differ between cities and cultures due to variation in social norms. People from Dublin are more likely to live with family for longer, perhaps until they get married and then they move into their own family home.

Step 2: Housing solutions for international market will differ from solutions for a domestic market. Internationals are more likely to live in co-living spaces because they don’t have the option of living at home or with close friends..

Step 3: Housing solutions will need to work for people on low-middle incomes as well as high earners. Current housing solutions are still unaffordable / inaccessible to individuals who have just moved out of home or left university and in their first job.

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