“One nowhere feels as lonely and lost as in the metropolitan crowd” said early twentieth century German philosopher Georg Simmel.
Given that cities are a carnival of human activity, the urban environment may sound like the very antidote to loneliness, however, rates of depression and anxiety are significantly higher in big cities than in rural areas.
“We live in a city which is concrete and stressful,” says Jariya Janjerdsak, Assistant Executive Vice President of product development at Sansiri, one of Thailand’s leading developers. ”When we were thinking about how we could give the most benefit to our clients, creating a more pleasant style of living is what we came up with.”
For Sansiri, the missing ingredient was a community feeling within condos, and they’re clearly onto something. Their last two condo projects under the brand “THE LINE,” a joint venture with Bangkok’s BTS transport system, sold all units within a matter of days. One theme of THE LINE is larger living spaces which allow residents not just to spread out, but also to interact with one another, fostering a sense of community.
Their two new developments under the same brand – THE LINE Sukhumvit 101 and THE LINE Phahon-Pradipat, takes the concept of co-living to the next level with greater focus on larger still communal living spaces.
“With these, we’ve solidified the concept of co-living into a clearer format,” says Jariya, “We wanted to provide more than just the typical communal areas such as swimming pool, gym and lobby.”
Sansiri have pinned down three specific areas to apply the concept to – co-lifestyle, co-working and co-recreation. They settled on these areas after studying their target audience (a younger demographic than some of their other projects) and realizing that the style of living for the modern city-dweller has changed.
“Today’s lifestyle is different. We can work from home or from a coffee shop and people enjoy greater independence. We wanted to bring these functions into people’s homes,” she says, adding that while privacy has always been a selling point for luxury living (and still is in some of Sansiri’s other developments) the modern Thai is less shy and conservative than previous generations.
“We see this in the sharing economy, which has really grown” Jariya explains, “there is a rise in co-working offices, you can share car journeys with Uber, and living spaces with Airbnb. So why not having sharing aspects in a condominium?”
The two new developments feature extensive working spaces, complete with wi-fi, printers and meeting rooms. There is also a large shared kitchen where residents can enjoy cooking classes, host parties and make more elaborate meals than would be possible in the more limited apartment kitchens. There are also lounge spaces and gardens for relaxing.
Sansiri predict that this this is just the beginning of co-living in Asia, and that while unit sizes are typically getting smaller, the value of the shared spaces is the way to appeal to affluent millennials.
One feature of the new development’s Jariya’s team are excited about are slots in the mail room where residents can leave their business cards. This will allow people to see who their neighbours are, and perhaps how they might be able to help each other.
“We want the condominium to feel like a big house. We’re making a community. People can feel like they not only live with their families, but also amongst friends.”