Economics/Class Relations

Boarding Houses: Co-Living In Cities Becoming Normalized Again

The postwar West was a historically unique time of unprecedented economic expansion, technological development, and economic reforms that allowed the working class to live like an upper middle class. All of that is disappearing now, and we’re becoming “normal” societies once again with traditional levels of social stratification.

America grew up during an age of boarding houses where people could rent a room to sleep and share other amenities with other boarders. As America grew prosperous, this gave way to preferences for single-family homes but now it is rapidly swinging backwards. ⁃ TN Editor

When teacher Ashley Johnson arrived in Atlanta after a cross-country move last year, she was quickly confronted with the city’s affordable housing shortage, one of the worst in the country.

Eventually, a friend told her about a service called PadSplit, which connects tenants with shared housing options, similar to boarding houses, that are quickly growing in popularity across the United States.

For $145 a week, including utilities – far less than an apartment would have cost her – Johnson found a room in a house with four other housemates, just minutes from her work, with a furnished bedroom, and shared bathroom, kitchen and living room.


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