Alex Hillman is the co-founder of Independents Hall, a shared office for tech-minded folks who might otherwise work from home.
He says ‘co-working’ is crucial in an urban environment. “When you’re living in a city,” said Hillman, “you’re surrounded by people. But how many of them do you really know? The more densely packed the city is, and the more people there are, the more anonymous we become.” So far, Indy Hall, in Old City Philadelphia, has had success in offering disconnected people a social, cooperative work environment. Now, Hillman’s looking to expand. “Not everybody needs a place to work,” he said, “but everybody needs a place to live.” Hillman’s now the co-founder of K’House (pronounced like ka-boom) — a cooperative living space.The house, to be built next year in Kensington, will feature six or so self-contained but purposely small apartments. It’s designed to nudge residents to use the oversized common areas. Hillman plans to live there himself.”The kitchen and dining room are designed for twice as many people that live there,” he said. “So if you’re going to cook a meal for a guest or a couple of guests you’ll do it in the common space, and hope that if multiple residents are doing that it becomes an instant dinner party.” In traditional co-housing setups, residents are also co-owners, but not here. It’s also different from a dorm because residents can do and have everything they need in their personal apartment. “In order to have these open, communal spaces you need to have privacy,” said Hillman. “It’s not for everybody, but it’s not about being great for everybody. It’s about being really great for somebody who’s never had this option before.” Rents will run from $750 to $1,200 per month.