Better 16 flatmates than alone on the sofa

Students much prefer to live with flatmates. This finding emerged from research done by Stip, Oras and WijWonen.

Is there interest in student studios such as those that are being built on the Jan de Oudeweg? (Photo: Marjolein van der Veldt)

Self-contained living spaces are more lucrative to renters than non-self-contained living spaces where several students live together. In Delft too, self-contained accommodation is mushrooming. There is the Pauwmolen with 143 student studios on the Jan de Oudeweg, and The Student Hotel with 287 hotel rooms next to the station is nearing completion. But these are not the type of housing that TU Delft students seem to want. This emerged in a survey (Dutch only) by the municipal council political party Stip, the students council political party Oras and the tenants’ organisation WijWonen.

‘The feeling of loneliness reduces when people live with a couple of other people’

Of the more than 700 students who filled in the online survey, 54% found living with flatmates more important than other aspects such as private facilities (19%), price (15%) and space (12%).According to Stip council member Marcel Harinck, there is a reason for the need for non-self-contained living spaces. The survey showed that students who live alone often feel lonely. “We see that the feeling of loneliness reduces when people live with a couple of other people,” says Harinck. “And it just about completely disappears in larger shared houses.”

In its ‘Nota eindevaluatie studentenhuisvesting in goede banen’ (bill on evaluation of well organised student housing), the Municipality started a campaign for townspeople to provide lodgings for students. The Municipality believes that taking students in could be a win-win situation: more accommodation for students and less loneliness, particularly among senior citizens.

While Stip, Oras and WijWonen say that they support the Municipality’s initiative, they also make the point that it diverts attention from the core problems around student accommodation. According to the Oras student council, living in shared housing is good for building up social contacts with age peers. “It is essential for students’ development, especially for new students.”

The parties also see initiatives such as The Student Hotel as a temporary solution. Students there will have self-contained studios and can meet other students in communal areas. Scholts says that “This sector is not affordable for all students, and they will still live alone.”

Start signal
The Municipality, in collaboration with TU Delft and the student accommodation organisation Duwo, recently presented (Dutch only) plans to build 2,500 new rooms between now and 2026. How many of these will be shared accommodation is as yet unknown. According to Scholts, the first projects are studios and residences outside Delft. Apparently 450 units for TU Delft students will be built in Schiedam.

But Scholts makes the point that “if we look at the findings of our survey and the current information available, these seem poles apart. We would thus like to promote the building of non-self-contained living spaces as the type of accommodation that we support.” 

Stip, Oras and WijWonen are calling on the Municipality, TU Delft and Duwo to build more shared accommodation. “If there is an equal division of self-contained and non-self-contained living spaces, students can retain the option of living with other students,” says Scholts.

News editor Marjolein van der Veldt

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