Meet Chris Lange, Co-Liv Ambassador for Germany
"As a student, my own difficulties were trying to find appropriate accommodation. This led me to found COMENTS | student coliving. COMENTS is an impact driven startup that rethinks traditional PBSA models to make student housing more sustainable with wellbeing principles."
How do you currently define yourself, and what drives you?
I see myself as an entrepreneur at heart with the desire to make the world a better place - relating to Mickael Jackson here ;)
To me it means, having an open eye for opportunities and ways to improve, whilst benefiting all stakeholders.
As a student, my own difficulties were trying to find appropriate accommodation. This led me to found COMENTS | student coliving. COMENTS is an impact driven startup that rethinks traditional PBSA models to make student housing more sustainable with wellbeing principles.
I’m constantly inspired by the spirit of coliving, and look forward to the opening of our properties to help students live a fulfilling life. That’s how I represent Gen Z and want to create an awesome product for us.
I’m into all kinds of sports. Mastering the Korean martial art Taekwondo, I learned a thing or two about self-development and control. I’m an introvert and often like being on my own, but I will keep on constantly pushing myself out of my comfort zone. For many years I’ve been playing the guitar, and like spending my evenings at the campfire. I’ve been vegan for two years now, because sustainability is an important topic for me. And for many more years to come, I will love my family.
What makes you passionate about coliving, and why are you actively promoting the coliving scene?
I think Coliving is the ideal housing solution because it merges three fundamental solutions to conquer some of the biggest threats of our time:
- Sustainability – coliving spaces are naturally resource efficient, with shared facilities and amenities that reduces materials needed for properties. Furthermore, smaller private areas often lead to residents needing less stuff which leads to reduced consumption. Good news for the fight against climate change, right?
- Wellbeing – the complexity of our world often causes uncertainty and insecurity. That’s why it’s fundamental to create easy-to-use solutions. Customers appreciate that, for example, when technology is used for our built environment, seamless living experiences are created, and this avoids the obstacles that renters usually face (internet connection, unexpected bills, furnishing...). This is what coliving offers, with a living flat rate and amenities that you probably can’t afford on your own.
- Community – loneliness is a huge issue for all generations, it is especially relevant for younger generations. Studies showed that one of four 18-30-year-old feel lonely. True coliving concepts will create communities of friends that strengthens the bond between roommates and reduces depressions, dropouts etc.
It’s easy to see how these three relate to one another and influence each other.
Coliving is also for all generations who’re experiencing different life circumstances. Environmentally consciousness, the need to belong to a community, shared experiences and saving money - this relates to almost every coliving resident one way or the other.
What are your visions and thoughts on the future of coliving for the year to come?
Awareness for coliving is rising in several ways. The development of coliving networks shows that a new wave of operators are joining the industry, and experiences from the pandemic are leading to growing demand. Investors are recognizing the value and impact proposition of coliving, which enables industry growth.
Instead of top down managed coliving schemes, I love the approach from community facilitators. Enabling communities to grow naturally, as well as providing the architecture for that, will be key differentiator for meaningful businesses.
More target group specific and niche coliving concepts will develop, as each group of residents has specific needs, which operators must address. For example, workation coliving - for digital nomads - obviously needs to be different from coliving for young professionals. On the other hand, most students don’t necessarily need as many amenities as young professionals, because they are more price sensitive.
You joined Co-Liv as our GERMANY AMBASSADOR - which opportunities do you want to create for the country you represent, the organization, its members, and the coliving industry?
Germany for me isn’t a typical digital nomad destination country, but it has various other fields where we need to strengthen the coliving ecosystem. Young entrepreneurs and students need appropriate and affordable housing. However, developers seem to only focus on building luxury apartment complexes.
On top of that – although change comes slowly – sustainable properties are rare. The next generation will demand housing that resembles their beliefs in terms of ecological impact. Coliving steps into these gaps and has the potential to fill them out.
I want to strengthen the local coliving community through hosting events in Germany. Coliving – although having shown high resilience and practicability – is still considered a niche market, but we know its principles are relevant for the whole of society. To foster change, we will bring local municipalities and institutions into discussion, to shift the public perception.
At the same time, building strong international relationships is essential. That’s why Co-Liv is the right place to be right now!
How did you get into coliving?
Backpacking through Southeast Asia showed me the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle. Whilst only focusing on the essentials, I experienced freedom. After coming back to Germany, my living situation made me unhappy, as I realized that my apartment wasn’t student appropriate, I lacked a sense of belonging in a community, feelings of emptiness and living in a bad location.
I understood that I wasn’t alone and that need-based student accommodations are rare. So, I decided to do something about it. Integrating my passion for Tiny Houses, a variety of comprehensive studies, as well as research of space efficient multi story urban housing, I developed a framework for the next generation of students. Around that time, I came across the term Coliving and considered it to be the best way to describe the project.
Because coliving is closely linked to sustainability, community and wellbeing, it was just the right thing to step into, to educate myself and tune the COMENTS concept. I realized that there is way more to coliving than providing a great space. Everything is about the residents, so there is no way around human-centered design.
Thank you for being part of this movement! How can people reach out, and what can you mostly help them with?
I’m looking forward to connecting with you and to shape this future together.