Instead of having to share your living room with a stranger and make small talk all those hungover mornings while brewing coffee, you can rent a private unit in a shared building from “co-living” firm Common. Marketed as a communal experience, units come with complimentary wi-fi, detergent and toilet paper, and the option to socialize with other residents or not.

At The Baffler, Zach Webb examines this concept and finds nothing redeeming about it. To him, Common exploits a generation anxious about their future prospects. Worse, these units, like so many things in our venture capital-fueled era, “reposition” occupied buildings, disrupting cities’ social fabric. And they reduce a building’s distinctive elements to a type of one-size-fits-all-West-Elm-coffee-shop aesthetic, which helps make cities at large look less like themselves and more like one anywhere America. Instead of truly creating “a commons” where people of different socioeconomic classes meet, Common begs…

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