Coliving Genotypes

Presented at the ‘1st International Space Syntax PhD Conference’ at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences on 21 June 2021


Over the past several years, Coliving has raised the demand for housing with shared facilities in major cities across the world. However, to date, there are only a limited number of academic studies exploring this new building typology; none of which focus on spatial organisation in relation to social integration. Furthermore, there is a general lack of quantitative research in any of the existing research.

In this study, a modification to ‘small-graph matching’ (Conroy Dalton and Kirsan, 2008) was applied to a sample of 15 coliving community buildings of various scales from the UK and US in order the identify a genotype signature and assess the homogeneity of each building’s system. This led to an investigation into ‘inequality genotypes’ (Bafna, 2001) to compare the integration values and rankings of space labels within these building systems to reveal the underlying genotypes in the context of individual spaces.

Beyond identifying a genotype and space label integration, a primary objective was to determine which coliving buildings are most, and least, likely to facilitate co-presence amongst inhabitants. These results will form the basis for a follow-up paper titled ‘Coliving, Co-presence and Conversation’ exploring co-presence and social interaction amongst residents of coliving communities.


Bafna, S. (2001) Geometrical Intuitions of Genotypes. In: 3rd International Space Syntax Symposium. Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Jun 13, 2001. Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Conroy Dalton, R. & Kirsan, C. (2008) Small-graph matching and building genotypes. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 35(5), 810–830.