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New forms of housing

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It won six Emmy Awards, including outstanding comedy series, and from its second season until the end of its run maintained a top five or better Nielsen rating, hitting number one in its eighth season. Friends was created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman and is about a group of six young adults who are either roommates or neighbours in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Much of the show takes place in the friends’ apartments as they visit one another.

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The Commons: could co-housing offer a different kind of great Australian dream?

The millennial commune movement: Networking in real life. How cohousing can make us happier (and live longer) Totally together: could communal living suit you? Every Wednesday morning, Devaraj Sandberg and the rest of the community at Osho Leela, a spiritual commune in Dorset, gather together for a group meditation session involving shouting, screaming and rounds of hugging.

Totally together: could communal living suit you?

“It keeps people a bit sane,” says Sandberg, 56, who has called Osho Leela his home for 16 years. “Living in a community with a lot of similar people can cause emotional stuff like disagreements, so the way we get round it is quite therapeutic.” Sandberg, a therapist, lives with 14 other long-term residents at Osho Leela in Gillingham, which describes itself as a “personal development centre” and was founded in 1996.

However, as part of a community experience programme, the site regularly welcomes external guests, with prices starting from £7 a night to share a dormitory. With regular communal meals and weekly meetings, Sandberg says the close-knit community at Osho Leela attracts a certain type of person. Collective living’s fine for students but for everybody else it stinks. When I moved from the suburbs to London proper at the age of 21, the first flat I looked at promised a garden, which was odd, because it was in a tower block.

Collective living’s fine for students but for everybody else it stinks

It turned out, on closer inspection, to be an area of rooftop tarmac surrounded by a wire fence, beyond which stood a car park. The next place we looked at, my friend Rachel asked the lettings agent if the area was safe for a woman at night. “Round here?” Co-living: the end of urban loneliness – or cynical corporate dorms? In the industrial chic lobby of the Collective, a huge apartment block in the northwest London neighbourhood of Willesden Junction, a set of posters advertise its events series for residents.

Co-living: the end of urban loneliness – or cynical corporate dorms?

There’s a crystal-pendant-making workshop, a talk on the politics of body hair and another on mental health awareness. The most popular class to date, according to Jade Coles, the Collective’s head of events and experiential marketing, was on how to make a ceramic dildo. “That one sold out in eight minutes,” she says. Housing: rethinking inside the box… In 2014 the bed overtook the sofa as the most used item of furniture in British homes.

Housing: rethinking inside the box…

This shift might be something to do with shrinking living space, but it mostly is the outcome of a behavioural change indicated by other well-I-never statistics – that Britons now spend more time looking at screens than sleeping and that 80% of smartphone users look at their devices within 15 minutes of waking up. I receive these nuggets from the trio in charge of the British pavilion at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, Jack Self, Shumi Bose and Finn Williams, who say they want to address Britain’s “anxious relationship to the idea of home”. Aged 29, 32 and 33 respectively, and selected through an open call for entries by the British Council, they are the youngest ever to receive this honour and appear determined to use the stage of the world’s biggest architectural exhibition to make an impact.