The shared (room) house: A social and material assemblage

Ms Zahra Nasreen1

1Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia


Shared housing has emerged as a popular form of housing, especially for younger generations. Shared housing is a private rental housing form which allows many tenants to live in locations which would otherwise be unaffordable. Yet, living in shared housing can be difficult. Residents are required to live with non-related members who collectively are required to negotiate and arrange the social, economic and material aspects of their daily lives. Here the physical/material configuration of shared housing plays a significant role in influencing resident’s feelings of home.  Despite the growth of shared room housing, little is known about how shared housing is created, experienced and maintained. This paper mobilises assemblage thinking to explore the ways that spaces such as bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen are assembled and experienced. Assemblage thinking offers critical (re)understanding of the relational and multiplex spatial, material and social alignments, and labours involved in the process of making home. Drawing on fieldwork which explored shared room housing (an extreme form of shared housing where resident share bedrooms) experiences in Sydney, this paper explores how social and material elements define daily routines and experiences of home.


Zahra Nasreen is a PhD research scholar at the Department of Geography and Planning at Macquarie University. She is an urban planner having diverse experience in affordable housing schemes, land use planning, database mapping and solid waste management services. Studying conflicts of planning policies and practices with local community’s needs has always been her aspiration. Her PhD research explores the shared housing characteristics, in particular room sharing, its geographical and affordability impacts, and tenants’ experiences of shared room housing in Sydney.

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