So I spent some time thinking about yesterday’s article on London’s empty mansions. And the thing that troubles me is this: when people moan about a house being unoccupied for more than 10 months of the year, I kind of raise an eyebrow.
Let me take my home as an example:
- I leave home by 6:00am every working day.
- I return home at 5:30pm for about 30 minutes to change for gym/boot camp/drinks.
- I go to gym/boot camp/drinks.
- I return home from gym/boot camp to shower and change.
- I then go for dinner (if I’m not already at dinner after drinks).
- I get home at 10:30ish to go to bed.
- That leaves my house unoccupied for about 15 hours of the day.
- On weekends, that can be longer.
- So in total, I reckon that my house is empty for about 4 days of the week.
- Then there are holidays, where I’m not home at all (let’s say 3 weeks a year).
- And that’s not counting the amount of time that I spend travelling for work (about one week out of three).
Putting that altogether, I’m out of town for about 5 months a year. And for those remaining 7 months, I’m physically out of the house for the equivalent of about 4 months.
So if we were a little stricter with our definition of time – my home is also an “empty mansion” for 9 months a year. And if you look at spare rooms in houses, which are almost never used, is that not almost the same thing as talking about empty mansions?
The good news: in many ways, economically, we’re moving toward using that “wasted resource” more effectively. Think about airbnb, and the house-swapping for holidays. Or über and the car-sharing.
After some googling, I stumbled upon the appropriate buzzword. It’s “the collaborative economy”.
Apparently, it’s a thing.
And here’s a fun video that I liked.