As we prepare to emerge from 2 months of confinement, we can learn the lessons of life in the homes of La Casa Coliving during this period. Certainly, the challenges of organizing community life are essential when you stay 2 whole months with 12 people in a Parisian suburban house, however pleasant it may be. But 95% of our 100 residents say they are privileged to have spent the period of confinement in a Casa. An enthusiastic message for the development of community Coliving as proposed by La Casa!
Confinement, an uncertain test for La Casa
Certainly, we are convinced by our mission to create communities of future friends in large houses with gardens in the Paris suburbs. But we approached the confinement period with real apprehension: would the solidarity of our communities resist this ordeal? How were our Residents going to experience permanent overcrowding, and the need to have to deal with 12 to 15 roommates with varied personalities? Was the ambient anxiety going to tarnish the bonds which unite them when the community is much more an advantage than a constraint?
In each Casa, common life was organised in a confined mode
Our regular exchanges with the 7 open Casas, inhabited by 98 Residents, quickly reassured us. First of all, the vast majority of them chose to spend confinement at La Casa, and only around 10% of the Residents preferred to isolate themselves elsewhere to spend this special period. Each Casa, according to the personality of its community, has developed a particular way of life. The most organized quickly defined rules adapted to the period, on outings, calm times, rotations in the common areas for teleworking. Casas has organized schedules of collective activities, using the skills of some who have improvised as sports coaches or initiators of yoga. At La Casa Verte in Saint Maur, the Residents have temporarily transformed a vacant room into a meditation room in which they meet regularly for group sessions. On the staff side, we have helped to maintain the link between the Casas by organizing online entertainment, musical blind tests, or cooking lessons with Anaïs who officiates in the Casas des Chefs. And we hosted a contest on the theme of the Friends series, where this wonderful photo of the Residents, confined in their greenhouse of the Casa Verte de Saint Maur, comes from :)
But the most successful animation was undoubtedly the one organized by one of our Residents, Teva, who proposed and animated a big “Question for a Casa” online, which brought together 36 participants from the different Casas, and whose large final approach! We maintained the services still possible, subscriptions, deliveries of race funds, urgent maintenance, but some could not be assured, like the cleaning in the common areas, which the Casas had to manage alone.
Result: community life in large houses with gardens acclaimed by residents
There have obviously been conflicts in the Casas, and of course the echoes have not always returned to our ears. After almost 2 months of confinement, we interviewed the Residents to take stock of this period and the outlook for La Casa.
First lesson: to the question “Are you satisfied with spending the confinement period in a Casa?”, 95% of the Residents answered YES. Our intuition was right: when the alternative for a young single worker in Paris is to spend 2 months alone 24 hours a day in a 20m² studio, the prospect of life at La Casa, in a large comfortable house, fully equipped, with a garden, supported by a united community, is pleasing ...
When we asked the Residents to distinguish the advantages of living at La Casa during confinement, they responded in order: large house, garden, community.
Among the disadvantages, unsurprisingly, the tensions to be managed in periods of permanent promiscuity emerged, the subject of cleaning which could not be provided by society during confinement, and an organization to be found for teleworking. Our Casas are certainly ideal for 4 or 5 teleworking in large common areas. But at 12 or 15 permanently, obviously, that's another story and we have to reorganize. But each Resident has a desk in his room to be a little more peaceful when he wishes.
And when we asked the Residents what will be the impact of a period of confinement and social distancing on a community Coliving solution as proposed by the Casa, the verdict is final: 93% think that the effect will be positive ( 43%) or neutral (50%), and only 7% see it as a negative argument.
Conclusion: our Residents would recommend 9.0 out of 10 to a young working person working in Paris to come and live in a Casa!