Sharing is Caring? Kollektivhus, Residential Hotels and Co-Living in the Context of Housing Inequality in Sweden

Karin Grundström


Sharing housing is more often than not seen through a positive lens of togetherness, de-growth, community spirit and as a driver of the sharing economy but as the urban population increases and affordable housing decreases, sharing housing is also a basis for economic profiteering. This article explores the socio-material differences in housing specifically designed to be shared, and which exist on the Swedish housing market in the 2020s. The historical trajectories of three key shared forms of housing in Sweden, the kollektivhus, the residential hotel and the co-living hub, are analysed after which a four-field figure is developed, coupling material and social aspects of shared forms of housing. The article argues that housing designed to be shared is both a way to counteract and a driver for spatial inequalities. There is a risk of inequalities in material standards, inequalities based on concentration or lack of facilities and services, and a risk of economic profiteering of vulnerable groups. One challenge for future housing in Sweden is to counteract housing inequality by supporting affordable housing designed to be shared, while at the same time safeguarding the interests of vulnerable groups.

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