Designer Troy Evans has redefined the meaning of life after college — by bringing dorm living into the adult world. Earlier this month, Evans debuted his downtown Syracuse floor plans for dorms for grown-ups, or, as Evans likes to call it, “Commonspace.” Twenty-one microunits, each packed with a tiny kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, surround a common area. With many residents sharing one living space, the aim for which is to reduce loneliness in millennials. In actuality, coliving fosters an unhealthy mindset in which people are unable to accept newfound independence.
Granted, there are many benefits to coliving. It’s a surefire way to develop a sense of community, since close quarters force people to get to know one another better. There’s also the financial draw — compared to the $1,500 per month average renting price in downtown Syracuse, Evans’ housing option costs significantly less, only $700 to $900 a month. To top it off, Evans accounted for the fact that most college grads come from homes with luxurious amenities, so his designs also factored in style.
However, the natural progression for many people after college is to finally live on their own. To reside in, as Evans put it, “a neighborhood in a building,” would be a reversion. Though Evans maintains that each microunit is ensured with the utmost privacy and allows for residents to choose the level of interaction with fellow roommates, this situation really isn’t the best of both worlds.
Living alone trains people to develop tangible skills. When an appliance breaks down or the fire alarm mysteriously goes off, my first inclination is to run to my roommate and ask her how to fix everything. If I lived by myself, which is what I plan to do after graduation, it would propel me to face these issues without depending on another person. Though these tasks are menial, solitary living inspires one to become self-sufficient.
Indeed, some studies do suggest that living with others decreases risk for depression. But after graduation, when life will undoubtedly become more hectic with career responsibilities, it can be freeing to come home after a long day and not be concerned about the needs of other people. If need be, loved ones are always a quick FaceTime or phone call away, so there’s really no need to live in confined spaces with people that might not be your favorite.
Most glaringly, this housing model ignores the introvert. Some people feel most at peace with themselves alone but might find the frugal rent outweighing the costs. In a society that advocates for networking and socialization and altogether supports the extrovert more, it would be more innovative to draft a plan that would allow introverts to also benefit from social interaction.
With many people crowded in one space — a continuation of college-style living — it might excite some for its inclusive and money-friendly qualities. On the other hand, coliving has major drawbacks, especially in the development of individualistic people. So, leave the dorms to the college students and explore solo-dwelling after college.
Danni Wang is a junior majoring in psychology. She is also the lifestyle editor of the Daily Trojan. “Point/Counterpoint” runs Mondays.