The number of applicants to Lund University is at a record high. To meet increased demand for housing, AF Bostäder is breaking new ground and opening Asteio – virtual student housing with an ideal location in the middle of Lundagård. Here, an unlimited number of Lund students from all over the world will live, study and socialise – all through their VR glasses.
“This is a small step for the student, but a giant leap for the student world,” says Martin Jacobsson, Construction Project Manager at AF Bostäder. “Asteio will change the student housing market from the ground up.”
Asteio was born in a flash of inspiration at a staff workshop on perfect student housing. Once the whiteboard was filled with customer benefits, someone observed “it would never be possible to do that in reality”. Then, Martin Jacobsson contacted one of the region’s major game developers.
“We have played with the idea before and even tested out similar housing internally for our international staff,” says Vivianne Reell, CEO of Truth or Dare Entertainment in Malmö. “Therefore, the step from idea to virtual reality was relatively short.”
“The location is the best possible, at the centre of Lundagård, close to AF-borgen, the University and the city,” says Martin Jacobsson. “Asteio will be a dream for the Virtual Living generation with the chance to choose their own decor, view, weather conditions and personal avatar. The accommodation is all-inclusive – even home insurance is included – and right from the start it’s connected to the major streaming services, most of the well-known online games and social media – if you are not online, you don’t exist.”
“Asteio is perfect for those who want to study remotely, but still be a part of student life,” says Martin Jacobsson. “We offer affordable add-ons for socialising and activities, such as Tour de Chambre, road racing, chess, our easter egg Virtual Carnival and the hottest of all: padel. The area will also have its own currency, Asteiorixdaler, which can be easily linked to credit cards, bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. Those who don’t have VR glasses can, of course, rent them in whatever colour they like.”
“In addition, Asteio will be essentially 100% sustainable,” says Louise Halén, Sustainability Coordinator at AF Bostäder. “Both direct and indirect environmental impacts will be minimal, as almost all the staff at AF Bostäder and Truth or Dare cycle to work. The tenants don’t even have to travel to Lund, as they live at home, as it were.”
“This is not just an innovation in the student housing market, it also means that as a student housing company we will become a virtual community builder,” says Henrik Krantz, CEO of AF Bostäder. “The possibilities are endless, and we can not only look forward to simpler management, but also fewer complications with planning permission and certifications.”
“We open Asteio on 1 April 2021,” says Martin Jacobsson. “Initially, we will be furnishing with one and zeroes with space for a total of 128 students. As soon as we see that the technology is working OK, we will expand in stages to 256, 512, 1 024 and so on, and in the autumn, we expect to say goodbye to housing lotteries for new students as well as the queue system. Then, an unlimited range of perfect student housing in Lund will not be just a dream, but virtual reality.”