Most corridors tenants really enjoy corridor life, but new students would prefer to live in apartments – if they had the choice. AF Bostäder is testing new ways to increase the feeling of home on corridors.
In corridor accommodation, each tenant has a private room, with a lockable external door. Most have their own toilet and shower. The communal spaces include a kitchen and living room, which the students share and manage together. The term “corridor accommodation” comes from the fact that the living space is often (but far from always) along a shared corridor.
“Corridor accommodation is a popular form of housing, which is confirmed in the annual customer survey,” says Monika Frank, Communicator at AF Bostäder. “It’s inexpensive, social, secure and sustainable with a spacious kitchen and a good community feeling. You are never alone and it’s easy to make friends from all over the world, which is of great value to students who are a long way from home.”
However, AF Bostäder’s survey shows that new students often have preconceived opinions and ideas about corridor accommodation as being shabby, untidy, rowdy and noisy with a lot of parties. This picture does not reflect reality.
“In the 2000s, AF Bostäder ensured that the corridors were all of a good standard with pleasant environments all the way from the courtyards, entrances and stairwells to the kitchens and living rooms,” says Monika Frank. “Since then there have been constant improvements. We also work actively on matters of wellbeing, security and conduct in close dialogue with the customers.”
At Vildanden, AF Bostäder has carried out a renovation and also investigated if it is possible to give corridor accommodation a cosier, more homely feel, without making management more expensive. Corridor accommodation at Vildanden is of the more traditional type with a long entrance corridor where the rooms are in a row.
“The rent also covers the shared areas,” says Philip Stridh, Technical Manager and the Vildanden Project Manager. “These are also to be a part of the home. In the past, we have painted the entrance corridors in different colours and patterns. The risk is that this amplifies the institutional impression that can arise in a long corridor. Instead, we have now alternated subdued painted sections with surfaces covered in durable, easy-to-clean textured wallpaper in warm and attractive colours. Each floor has its own colour tone and the wallpapers mark the recesses that surround the apartment doors, which makes the corridors appear shorter in length. In the entrance hall there is already a feeling of “coming home”. The tenants are positive about the changes and some describe the feeling of a hotel when they go into the corridor. In 2019, we will evaluate the project and make a decision on a possible continuation.”
In the ongoing investigation, AF Bostäder is developing proposals that can increase the attractiveness of the corridors. Among other things, there is discussion about the optimal size of communal housing and defining the lowest acceptable standard. To a large extent, the measures relate to communication and marketing.
“We must be better at talking about modern life on a corridor and emphasise the clear advantages,” says Monika Frank. “Many people don’t know about the variety of our corridor accommodation. Some are quite small with just two or three rooms around a living room. Some are in the older style with beam ceilings and others are over more than one floor.”
“In addition to the good sense of community, most of our corridors also have nine-month rents, which is appreciated by the students. There are also theme corridors such as alcohol-free corridors. Among the new proposals is an all-inclusive approach with more services linked to the housing such as extended furniture rental or cleaning assistance, something that is more common abroad,” concludes Monika Frank.