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What is a Hacker House?

Communes used to be about rejecting traditional values and distancing oneself from society.
There are signs that communal living today is different.

As rent increased steeply in major cities like San Francisco, saving money by sharing a living space increasingly appeals to young otherwise priced out city dwellers. Some young entrepreneurs have turned the situation into an opportunity by embracing the "co-living" aka communal living or cooperative housing.

Communal living is a hot topic when it comes to discussions about the future of urban living. The hype around co-living was in full swing in late 2013. Stories about millennials cramming Bay Area buildings appeared in NPR, Gawker and even The New York Times. Communal houses aren’t really something new: back in the days of back-to-nature transcendentalism in 1840s dozens of utopian communities emerged around the country. Fast forward one century, and we had Baby Boomers experimenting with the community living in the 1960s and 1970s.

Communes used to be about rejecting traditional values and distancing oneself from society.

There are signs that communal living today is different. Now startup-friendly hacker houses are about rolling around in the “greasy gravy” of modern society, not running away from it all. Handful of entrepreneurs are founding cospaces in an effort to disrupt the business model, transform city living, and earn money at the same time. They are trying to build communities of passionate young people where they didn't exist before. Technocrats are taking over the leases of grand estates and transforming them into modern-day communes.

"There's a lot of baggage around the word commune, so part of what we're doing is rebranding it," — says Ben Provan, a San Francisco developer who pitches co-living to a new generation.

Co-living spaces usually take the form of group houses and can be labeled as “hacker houses”, “community houses” or “intentional communities.” Members rent a bedroom or a bed in a shared room and are drawn together around a particular set of pursuits or ideals. In contrast to pure hacker hostels co-living spaces are meant for entrepreneurs looking at a more permanent stay and adopting a philosophy of communal living: group perks over personal space. Housemates agree to divide household chores, share groceries and enjoy communal meals together.

Cospaces in San Francisco provide both long-term and short-term communal living opportunities to startup founders and and geeks who are looking to break into Silicon valley tech scene. While each hacker house has its own quirks, they all aspire to foster creativity, fuel entrepreneurial endeavors and collaboration and make life more exciting.

Co-living does cut costs and promotes sustainability, and it’s more than just random roommates coming together. Potential residents are screened by tenants to make sure potential housemate’s skills will contribute to the group.

Hacker house residents are usually young, green, and tech-obsessed. They’re millennials, who value minimalism, job mobility, flexible schedules & social networks. They prefer cities, stimulating work and self-employment.

The concept is to offer a space for hackers and team members where they can work as they live and live as they work,” — says Anna Bleker of Redshift.

Based on publications in NPR, Gawker, SFGate, and

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