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We spoke with Dr. Anne Stenros, a thought leader on strategic design, creative leadership and strategic foresight about the current and future state of coliving, cities and we are so happy to share it with you all! Enjoy: 

We tend to define ourselves by our jobs a bit too much. So, can you introduce yourself without speaking of work? What do you love? What inspires you?

I love writing, it is my way of reflecting both the professional and my personal life. I write non-fiction and micro poems. They are my journals and a way to cope in times like today.

Cool! Now we can talk a bit about work: What have you been working on recently? 

I have just finished the first online workshop of a series of three on the future architecture. Future Sprint 2030 is an interactive scenario process for the future vision of architecture.

Now, let’s have a bit of fun. Say you are living in one of the many coliving spaces (hopefully soon) available in Finland: 

  • What song would you be blasting?
    Can’t Help Falling in Love by Andrea Bocelli
  • What movie would you watch over and over again in the shared/building’s movie theater?
    Old Western films, like True Grit (1969) with John Wayne
  • What food would you teach others to cook?
    Lemon meringue pie
  • And then what book would you donate to the building’s library?
    All thousand+

As an architect, what do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities when designing a community oriented living space?

Community building is something that can be done only as co-creating. The users must be involved early to the planning process; that is how we engage them from the beginning. After that, it is the architects’ job to enable through design their needs and desires.

Is coliving a complement or a disruptor from existing living options?

When I was a young architect, there was only one way to live in Finland: as a family with 2,5 kids. Today, there is such a diversity among lifestyles and coliving is a much-needed addition to this personalised way of living – or like a friend of mine from London says: Product-you.

Evening in lovely Helsinki. Photo by Marko Peck

More people are moving to the city: what can we expect from a 3 million people Helsinki area?

I am not sure that all the people want to live in the city centre. I am an old-school person and like living out of the center. There are also signals that young people are moving to the outskirts because they want more space and nature around. Coliving can exist also in small cities – or even in the countryside. The COVID-19 crisis also taught us the benefit of decentralisation.

What will be the legacy of covid19 in city life/our lives?

We must rethink and redesign the concept of public spaces, and also public transportation. The over tourism in cities must be stopped and local communities must be rebuilt. For example, in Amsterdam, many neighbourhoods are completely empty now, when the Airbnb tourists are not there. Also, the importance of parks and greens areas are increasing.

You can find Anne on LinkedIn and Twitter where she shares updates on her latest work and always inspiring content!

Anne Stenros’ profile picture by Pekka Karhunen.