fbpx

The pandemic has changed a lot of things about how young people go about their lives –– from how they stay connected to friends and family, to how they use digital tools in day-to-day work. And while the pandemic isn’t over yet, we are beginning to see how some of these changes are leading to larger and perhaps more permanent adjustments in lifestyle. So in this post, we want to look specifically at some emerging ways of life that have come about as a result of the pandemic.

Digital Nomadism

The need for remote work led a lot of people to discover that they could do their jobs from any location in the world. As a result, the number of people who identify themselves as digital nomads has increased significantly. And while “Digital Nomads” author Robert Litchfield has pointed out that this trend actually started before the pandemic, it’s undeniable that Covid-related conditions sped it up. We will likely see even more employees (as well as freelance workers) taking up “digital nomad” lifestyles moving forward, even as the pandemic subsides.

 

Coliving

Rising prices in the housing markets have pushed a lot of young people to look for alternative solutions. This has helped give rise to coliving, which goes hand-in-hand with the digital nomadism trend to some extent. Having emerged in Silicon Valley (where it has long been possible for people with similar professional ambitions and backgrounds to link up in shared housing), the coliving trend is now evolving into co-working spaces with housing components. This is not only providing a new working and living model for young professionals in general, but also making it easier for them to get situated in cities like Paris or Madrid, which are beautiful and fascinating, but also rather expensive to rent or buy property in. And while coliving is not necessarily cheaper than other alternatives, it provides an all-inclusive blend of living and professional benefits that is invaluable to professionals, entrepreneurs, and freelancers alike. Space in a coliving environment is easy to book (thanks to flexible leasing arrangements) and provides access to energetic communities of like-minded professionals. It is for many an ideal environment in which to live and work independently.

 

Remote & Mobile Housing

Aside from the trend toward coliving, digital nomadism is also leading many independent workers to consider remote and/or mobile housing. Regarding remote trends, the pandemic inspired many move out of cities and toward suburbs and the countryside. A report at The Local cited 59% of Île-de-France inhabitants wishing to live somewhere less stressful following lockdowns, and the same percentage mentioned a desire to be closer to nature. Similar sentiments have been echoed across much of the world.

While many are leaving the cities are buying up suburban or countryside homes, this trend of migration has also coincided with a rise in mobile home-usage. Various reports have indicated that the RV business is thriving as people look for more flexible, untethered living arrangements (though the quality of RV camps is inconsistent, and some are more conducive to work than others).

Generous Living

While the previous two points concern working and living situations, there are also changes in how people conduct themselves. For one thing, young people have also become increasingly aware of how a large part of the population has to deal with unfair working conditions, as well as limited access to basic needs like education and healthcare; income inequality has also become more visible. However, Fareed Zakaria’s book “Ten Lessons For A Post-Pandemic World” suggests that the pandemic has also given us opportunities to change things like these for the better, and produce a more equal, empathetic society. And it’s in this vein that we’ve seen people adopting more generous lifestyles: Young people have driven movements for social change throughout the pandemic, and CNBC reported even early in the pandemic that 3 in 4 millennials had donated money. These trends suggest a move toward more equality-driven living.

In-Person Living

While technology made it possible for people to stay connected during lockdowns, it also helped to demonstrate the limitations of digital-only social interactions. Sources from the hit streaming special “Inside” by Bo Burnham to Buzzfeed News articles quoting mental health experts have helped to highlight young people’s growing discomfort with fully digital social lives. And as a result, we’re seeing young people emerging from the pandemic pointedly prioritizing in-person social activity –– somewhat ironic in what is supposed to be the age of the metaverse. This is not to say that young people are surrendering social media or digital tools by any means. But they are making a point of recognizing and valuing human-to-human connection.

As this trend solidifies, it is also important to mention that government entities and urban planners have a responsibility to accommodate it. One of the few heartwarming aspects of the pandemic at its worst was that we did see major cities around the western world reorganizing and redistributing space –– providing more biking paths, wider walking avenues, and large spaces for safe outdoor dining. And in some cases, there have been indications that these changes will be permanent, or at least inspire long-term changes; for instance, a write-up at Forbes details plans for some 650 kilometres of cycling space to be built into Paris, in part at the expense of sidewalk parking spaces. This is only one example, but it speaks to how the growing preference for “in-person living” needs to be supported by the facilitation of such a lifestyle.

It’s an understatement to say that the pandemic brought about unprecedented change for people of all ages. But it’s also inspired younger generations to develop their own innovative solutions to different issues. As a result, many people have more flexible ideas regarding where to reside, how to work, and how to interact with and treat other people.

Exclusive for urbancampus.com by Aspen Emery

 

read

Read More

author

Aspen Emery

Aspen Emery is a freelance writer and photographer. She is currently based in Manchester, but is working toward becoming a full-time traveler.