The classic picture of success for much of the last century has been a detached suburban house, 2.4 kids, and a shiny car. But is there a danger this dream of domestic bliss is out of touch with the realities of human psychology, economics and our evolutionary roots? For much of human history, we lived in extended groups of 20 or more. In a family of four, if one relationship fails, the whole unit is at risk. Unsurprising perhaps that 1 in 5 adults now say they always or often feel lonely. With challenges in child and elderly care and a global housing crisis projected to affect 1.6 billion people by 2025, critics argue the isolated nuclear household has to go.
Is it time to abandon the ‘picket fence dream’ as an unnatural, uneconomical and unsustainable way of living? Should we seek to adopt a radical new model of the home which embraces co-living and shared domestic labour? Or this an elitist pipe-dream that ignores the realities of everyday life and the pleasure individuals and families get from living in their own home?