Tuesday 22 October 2019

Land Development Agency boss defends idea of 'co-living' saying 'we need more choices'

Appointed: John Moran will temporarily chair the LDA
Appointed: John Moran will temporarily chair the LDA
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

THE State agency charged with solving the housing crisis is set to turn an historic 19th century Georgian house into a co-living space.

Chairman of the Land Development Agency (LDA) John Moran has said the building in Limerick could hold up to eight people "who are happy" to share a kitchen and living room.

He said this would be the first of its kind in the city.

Georgian buildings in Dublin have been used for 'shared living' before, although in more impoverished circumstances in the 1800s and 1900s.

In the latter part of the last century, many Georgian buildings were sub-divided into flats and bedsits, and were popular amongst students and people looking for cheaper places to rent.

Speaking about the 'co-living' model of today, Mr Moran told Independent.ie that the proposed premises could cater for up to eight people.

His comments came after Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said people should be “excited” about co-living and having "less space for less rent".

“Georgian houses by their nature tend to be too large for single unit homes, but what they’re perfect for is being sub-divided into purpose built co-living spaces," Mr Moran said.

“Every room can be as large as 35sqm with its own en suite; the rest of the house can be used as a shared kitchen and living space. 

“Our builders haven’t finished our one yet, but it’s not the same model that we’ve seen heavily criticised in recent days.”

Speaking at the National Housing Conference at Dublin Castle today, Mr Moran acknowledged that co-living won’t work for everyone, but believes people need more choices in the way they live.  

“In theory, you could have a series of Georgian houses to revitalise a city where each unit serves as one individual community. And behind all of these houses, you could have facilities that work for all of them, such as a creche and gym. 

“For some people this won't work, but as we’re becoming more urbanised, we need to offer more choices to people.”

The LDA chairman added that co-living isn’t just for young professionals, but for people who don’t want to live on their own. 

“People tend to not like going into restaurants where there’s no one inside. For a lot of people, it’s nice coming home at the end of the day and having someone to talk to, while having the freedom to grab a book and chill out by yourself in your bedroom.

“Lots of other countries do this and it can actually be a more fun way to live.”

Earlier this month, a development of 208 shared-living homes in Dún Laoghaire came in for criticism.

If the Bartra Capital Property application is approved, more than 40 people would share a kitchen and living space, but with their own bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms.

Responding to the application from Bartra, Green Party councillors have called for a rewriting of residential guidelines, given the "Dickensian" nature of the developer's proposals.

Bartra Capital Property intends to develop a five-storey, co-living building at the site of the former school house on Eblana Avenue in the town's centre.

Each en-suite bedroom will be 16.5sqm and include a pull-down bed and kitchenette.

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