Whether you’re a digital nomad moving to New York for a few months or a graduate looking for affordable housing, new co-living communes are offering flexible, accessible alternatives to traditional rental apartments.
Globetrender speaks with Sergii Starostin, co-founder of Outpost Club, about how he is building a new kind of urban community, where housing comes complete with common areas and co-working spaces, as well as event programmes and simple monthly contracts.
How do you define co-living?
Co-living is a shared-housing model in which communities are built around shared spaces in the home, allowing residents to live more affordably while giving them the opportunity to build lasting relationships in vibrant communities.
What is Outpost Club?
Outpost Club is a network of co-living companies throughout New York City, Jersey City and San Francisco. We take advantage of pre-existing housing stock in major cities to make better use of urban space.
Why is it innovative?
What’s innovative about Outpost Club is how simple we’ve made it to move to a new city and find an instant community of people from around the world – we’ve managed to build something that members continue to return to year-after-year because they value their experience with us, all without things like background and credit checks or outrageous fees that can make it really difficult to move somewhere new.
Who is it targeting?
We mainly target 21- to 35-year-olds who value community. We welcome any gender, nationality, ethnicity and sexuality in our homes, with the requirement that anyone who moves into an Outpost Club house will be respectful of the humanity of everyone who shares that space. About half of our members are American and half from outside of the US. Many of our members are creatives, entrepreneurs, young professionals, students and interns.
Why is this trend taking off?
There’s been an interesting – and fantastic, in our opinion – cultural shift during the 21st century toward investing in and valuing experiences over material possessions. That shift is especially apparent amongst millennials and the older Gen Zers who have entered adulthood and place more importance on being a part of a vibrant social community than on having a large apartment or house to themselves.
Of course, the expense of owning a home (or even renting an apartment in a major urban area) has driven the trend too, but feedback from our members overwhelmingly suggests the value they find in co-living comes from the relationships they form more than from anything else.
Why is it relevant to travellers or is it just for people living in the city?
We’ve specifically built Outpost Club to be welcome to everyone who wants to live in New York, whether they’re a native New Yorker or visiting for the first time. We believe that you can find value in our community no matter where you’re from or for how long you stay.
How is it helpful to digital nomads?
The nomadic life can lead to so many rich, fulfilling experiences, but it can also lead to a feeling of rootlessness. Co-living allows digital nomads to have the kinds of experiences that make nomadic life interesting and exciting, while also allowing them to gain a sort of family as they travel.
There’s also great value in being able to collaborate with and gain inspiration from fellow travelers, creatives, artists and entrepreneurs, all of whom tend to be attracted to coliving as a lifestyle.
What does Outpost Club in New York offer?
In addition to fully furnished housing, an Outpost Club membership includes utilities, wifi, regular professional cleaning and household essentials such as toilet paper, paper towels, soap, coffee and more.
We also put on multiple events a month that offer members an opportunity to get to know each other and take advantage of Outpost’s greatest strength: our community. There are additional perks depending on your membership level, including being able to move between all of our houses.
What makes its housing stand out from other co-living companies such as WeLive?
Something great about the worldwide co-living community is the wide variety of experiences available wherever you go. We believe we stand out because of our combined focus on flexibility, affordability and community, all three of which are integral parts of the Outpost Club experience.
People join us from all over the world because they don’t have to stress about an intense application process, outrageous fees, lease term requirements or anything else that normally comes with moving into a new apartment, and once they arrive, they find themselves to be part of a thriving community that will leave them with friendships for life.
What are your plans for expansion?
In addition to continuing to open houses throughout New York City and in New Jersey, our immediate plan is to increase our current presence in San Francisco before expanding to Los Angeles. From there, we’re looking at a few other cities in the US, as well as London, to start.