Best of Berlin Coliving: The 2019 Summer Co-Liv Learning Expedition

Last week, I  joined 30 other coliving industry professionals, developers, and aficionados on a two-day exploration of the coliving and co-working sector in Berlin. In this article I share the highlights.

Organized by Pauline Jadas of Co-Liv in collaboration with Hana Ahriz of Space and Pepper, this “Berlin Learning Expedition” was one of the first of many such events to be planned. Co-Liv’s network consists of coliving operators, investors, developers, designers, urban planners and policymakers and we were lucky to have several of these join us on the expedition.

In this post, we take a look at some of Berlin’s most exciting coliving communities and actors, plus share some of the top coliving tips which came up during the tour.

Rent 24 stands out for its unique interior design

First stop on our Friday morning tour (I was unable to attend the Thursday visit to Quarters) was a visit to Rent 24. The Rent 24 location in Berlin offers a blend of co-working, coliving, and event hosting. In terms of living, the model currently targets short-term stay tenants, mostly ranging from a few days to a few weeks. Its sleek and creatively-designed shared spaces include a yoga/dance room, cozy lounge and a medium-sized kitchen, which is regularly cleaned.  A new Rent24 project in Hamburg aims to shift towards a more community-based coliving concept.

We then head over to Venn City Berlin, a project which originated in Tel Aviv and began to operate in Berlin in 2018. Venn describes itself as  an “open source neighborhood operating system,” providing locals with a “new way of neighboring” and a “wholebeing platform.” Its aim is to transform urban life in neighborhoods. As such, their model is not so much of coliving in one building, but rather of strengthening neighborhood relationships through a variety of connected buildings.

Venn Berlin describes itself as a “open source neighborhood operating system.”

One of Venn’s key goals is to have residents stay during different life stages. One way they enable this is by really understanding what members want and need, in particular through a residential survey. For instance, they recently created a DJ studio in the basement of their first building in order to provide space for residential DJs to practice their skills as well as to reduce noise levels for those who are not such electronic-music-enthusiasts. There is also a hardware shop and kindergarten. Two full time community managers have also developed a range of other regular events such as pilates, drawing, yoga, and members’ dinners.

I was impressed to learn about Venn’s comprehensive impact plan and recent release of their first official impact report. A follow-up blog post will provide a more detailed case study of Venn City Berlin in terms of their impact on personal well-being, community-building and environmental sustainability.

In the afternoon, we journeyed over to Factory Berlin, a former co-working space turned community network and hub. Self-proclaimed as a “bridge between the old economy and the new” (e.g. entrepreneurs), Factory offers a curated community of innovators and change-makers, including museum curators, artists, comedians, DJs, and tech experts. These members organize an impressive number of events, averaging 2 or 3 a day. Factory is also host to innovation hubs for corporates such as Siemens, Allianz, and McKinsey, which allows for unique interaction between these organisations and members.

Factory Berlin brings together start-ups and corporates to create a community of innovators

Finally, here is some coliving wisdom dispensed from the group during our wonderful tour.

Regarding interior design it was suggested to:

  • Use carpets on hallway and rooms floors to reduce noise
  • Use plants to absorb noise, provide privacy, and enable connection to nature
  • Consider creating separate spaces and different designs for coliving and co-working to allow the mind to switch off from work
  • Avoid too much stuff in rooms to allow tenants to personalize

Regarding community, wellbeing, and environmental sustainability, it was suggested to:

  • Carry out regular surveys to assess tenant needs
  • Plan to educate tenants on environmental sustainability
  • Ensure you have active community managers
  • Plan regular activities with local initiatives, business, neighbors to engage the community
The Berlin Learning Expedition group participants

Big thank you to all who attended. We at Conscious Coliving look forward to connecting with you again soon!

PS- Co-Liv member Gui Perdrix (founder of Art of Co) is helping to organize monthly coliving meet-ups in several cities around the world. If you are interested in helping organize one, please contact Gui.

This post was written by Naima Ritter of Conscious Coliving, coliving consultants. If you’re starting or running a coliving community and want it to thrive, we’re here to help! Contact us at connect@consciouscoliving.com for more information. 

This article has been authored for you by:

Transformational Coach and facilitator. Trainer in mindfulness, sharing circles, and how to live and lead more consciously. Co-author of the Community Facilitation Handbook and the Coliving Apps & Tech Guide. Facilitates community engagement strategies.

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