How architecture can cure loneliness
Although we are more "connected" than ever, we are also feeling more lonely and socially isolated than ever. In 2014 Britain was voted the loneliness capital of the world. Recent studies have found the issue to be a serious threat to our public health and longevity, with effects comparable to obesity. These outcomes have been connected with high rates of people living alone.
In a recent TED talk architect Grace Kim shares her perspective on the loneliness epidemic:
Loneliness doesn't always stem from being alone; loneliness is a function of how socially connected we feel to the people around us - and it's often the result of the homes we live in.
As a designer of many cohousing units, including one in which she currently lives, Grace believes that cohousing, by increasing our social connectedness, can be the solution that will literally save our lives.
Cohousing is an intentional neighbourhood where people know each other and look after one another. You have your own home but also share significant in- and outdoor spaces, such as large communal kitchens where meals are cooked and enjoyed jointly, often several times a week.
Speaking from both her extensive research and her own experience, Grace noticed how when communities regularly eat together, they naturally start sharing more and planning more activities together. In turn their level of social connectedness increases.
Watch her TED talk above.
Interested in co-housing opportunities in the UK? Check out UK Cohousing Network.