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LA coliving: a permeable intersection between social/privacy

Calling it “a social network with an address”, Los Angeles entrepreneur Elvina Beck created PodShare, a coliving experiment where dozens of “Podestrians”- travelers, mobile workers or new arrivals to the city- share a communal space filled with sleeping pods or “bunk beds for adults”.

Beck, who built the first PodShare in 2012 with her father, wanted to respond to her demographic’s rejection of widespread home ownership and embrace of the sharing economy. She set out to transform the American bunk bed, creating a more open (and co-ed) version of the Japanese capsule hotels.

For $40 to $50 per night (or discounted weekly and monthly prices), Podestrians can choose a bottom or top sleeping pod (equipped with a lamp and a small flatscreen television with Internet access) along with all the shared spaces, including a kitchen (with communal food, and space for individual storage in the pantry and fridge), bathroom, showers (toiletries included) and a communal lounge.

Currently, there are 3 locations in Los Angeles, but Beck sees the model as scalable across the country and, similar to a gym, members could have overnight access at any location.

PodShare doesn’t own any of the locations, but instead rents empty space from landlords. They stay away from residentially-zoned properties and instead focus on converting commercial or live/work spaces. Beck and her partner Kera Package have evolved the pods so they are now modular and totally mobile so they can go up and down at any location when a lease ends.

In reflection of the sharing economy’s privilege of “access” over “ownership”, Beck tries to outfit each location with extras like bicycles and instruments. She hopes each location will eventually have bigger extras, like a gym or pool. Currently, the Hollywood location even has a recording studio and editing bay.

  • Sage Blackthorn

    Interesting idea. I can see how it would take a certain mind-set to be comfortable in such a living arrangement. So this set up would attract certain types of people who are open and trusting to begin with. It’s almost like a new spin on the Capsule Hotel idea from Japan, only it’s an extended stay set up.

    I don’t know that I would be comfortable with such an arrangement. But then I’m 42, I snore, and I’m a bit cranky and set in my ways. I’d also worry about folks who are staying for 3 months who suddenly come down with a cold or the flu and spread it to everyone else. I don’t think I could deal with not having cats for more than a night either. Still, this may be something that the younger generation takes to. My nephew could possibly do something like this. He already uses Lyft and Uber and gets rides from complete strangers, which is something I just can’t wrap my head around either. I don’t even take Taxis.

  • This is a new twist on an old concept. Places like this were common for the WWII generation who were communally minded and generally well behaved. They went out of fashion and earned a bad reputation by the 1960’s when young Baby Boomers brought with them their need for individual expression and a lot of bad self indulgent behavior. Millennials are much more like their WWII era predecessors and nothing like Boomers so the concept of a clean safe communal space works again.

  • Jason McCabe

    If I am traveling to the LA area to meet with publishers over the summer, what would a spot here cost?

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  • E Deplorabus Unum

    “Rejection” of ownership unobtainable objective with Obama’s socialism destroying the middle class and saddling young people with massive debt for worthless degrees while 1% becomes super wealthy? CA is Venezuela light – on it’s way to N Korea heavy.

  • RastaHonky

    Looks like photos I’ve seen of the barracks at Auschwitz.

  • Frederick Owusu

    Hi guys that is great idea ? but my problem is i need job. I’m in Ghana thank you.

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  • Derek Green

    Would love to see this whole idea branch out in helping veterans:) I really love what “podshare” is doing for communities! So cool and inventive:) Good work!:)