COLIVING IS ON THE RISE WITH L.A.'S PODSHARE
Calling it “a social network with an address”, Los Angeles entrepreneur Elvina Beck created PodShare, a coliving experiment where dozens of “Podestrians”- travelers, mobile workers or new arrivals to the city- share a communal space filled with sleeping pods or “bunk beds for adults”.
Beck, who built the first PodShare in 2012 with her father, wanted to respond to her demographic’s rejection of widespread home ownership and embrace of the sharing economy. She set out to transform the American bunk bed, creating a more open (and co-ed) version of the Japanese capsule hotels.
For $40 to $50 per night (or discounted weekly and monthly prices), Podestrians can choose a bottom or top sleeping pod (equipped with a lamp and a small flatscreen television with Internet access) along with all the shared spaces, including a kitchen (with communal food, and space for individual storage in the pantry and fridge), bathroom, showers (toiletries included) and a communal lounge.
Currently, there are 3 locations in Los Angeles, but Beck sees the model as scalable across the country and, similar to a gym, members could have overnight access at any location.
PodShare doesn’t own any of the locations, but instead rents empty space from landlords. They stay away from residentially-zoned properties and instead focus on converting commercial or live/work spaces. Beck and her partner Kera Package have evolved the pods so they are now modular and totally mobile so they can go up and down at any location when a lease ends.
In reflection of the sharing economy’s privilege of “access” over “ownership”, Beck tries to outfit each location with extras like bicycles and instruments. She hopes each location will eventually have bigger extras, like a gym or pool. Currently, the Hollywood location even has a recording studio and editing bay.