⚡ Discover a possible solution to loneliness — cohousing — and understand exactly how it works.

Grace Kim presenting her TED talk on how cohousing can make us happierHow cohousing can make us happier (and live longer) | TED Talk by Grace Kim

A huge number of us now live in cities — in 2008, the world’s population was evenly split between urban and rural areas (with urban population on the increase). We’re crammed together in tower blocks, apartment buildings, shared houses. We live in close proximity to hundreds, perhaps thousands of people. But this doesn’t prevent us from becoming lonely.

The reason, as Grace Kim explains in her TED talk, is that loneliness doesn’t necessarily stem from being alone — it stems from being socially disconnected. You can be lonely in a crowd if you have no real connection to those around you.

Her passion is for cohousing — a method of living where you choose to share areas (such as dining or lounge space) with your neighbours. These shared areas then become a hub of social connection, helping to ensure that people feel connected to those around them (and therefore less likely to feel lonely).

Grace Kim is an architect, thinking in terms of layout and design. But I think her ideas can be applied on a far simpler level — just making the effort to know your neighbours. Shared dining rooms definitely help… but they’re not vital. Loneliness sucks, so it’s worth thinking about.