If you’re pursuing a career in the arts - whether it’s design, film, music, writing, another field requiring creativity and a strong imagination - you most likely yearn for life “in the big city.” It’s in major cities where we find the best museums, art schools, production studios, concert venues, and other environments which thrive on creative expression and help inspire unconventional thinking. This is why there really is no better place to pursue a career in the arts than one of the world's thriving centers for talent and vision.
But as those who have already packed up and headed towards the big city of their dreams know, it’s far from a budget-friendly proposition. The best cities around the world for artists and other creatives also tend to have the highest cost-of-living. It’s great when you know which cities are perfect for a career in fashion, or helping you get your start as a playwright, but how can it be done without going broke?
The solution for many is to live with roommates, which allows them to split up many of the major expenses associated with living in a city conducive to creativity-driven careers. Boarding houses are also making a comeback - only these days they’re called coliving spaces to reflect the fact they are in centrally-located buildings rather than individual houses on the outskirts. Also referred to as shared housing, coliving is an affordable way to live in a major city for reasons similar to the roommate model, but tweaked to remove the downsides of living with other people while adding benefits you won’t get living in a studio apartment.
For instance, shared housing through the coliving company Common includes a furnished room all to yourself, regular cleaning services, and supplies like paper towels provided. Residents share bathrooms, kitchens, and general living space. Similar to a resident assistant in a college dorm, these common areas are overseen by a home manager. Such a living arrangement can help someone save hundreds each month on housing as they pursue a career in the arts in a city where such a path is possible.
The key to affordable living in a major city is creative use of space. Gone are the days where architects and interior designers working in big urban centers could have a liberal approach to utilization of space. Every inch is sacred in terms of the need to maximize efficiency. It’s safe to say shared housing and other alternatives to standard living arrangements will continue to grow in demand as more and more people move back into major cities.
Now that there are options on the table for affordable living in one of the many great cities for arts and culture, it’s time to get down to business. Here is the short list of the best cities around the globe for artists and other creatives:
Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Lima, Santiago
London, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Milan
Asia and Pacifica
Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney
While shared housing is currently being offered in many of these cities, it’s not yet caught on everywhere. However, in nearly every major city, there will always be options for coliving in some kind of way. It’s only a matter of time before the modernized boarding house model takes all the world’s major cities by storm, giving those pursuing a career in the arts a better chance to make their dreams come true.