Blended living

The Class of 2020 conference in Berlin will explore living, working and learning environments globally, and how they continue to change

The Class of 2020’s upcoming conference in Berlin will explore the blurring boundaries between living, working and learning environments in global university cities.

The rate of change in the lifestyles of university students and young talent has accelerated immensely in the past decade. Gone are the days of siloed education and career paths defined spatially by homes, offices and university libraries.

The digitisation of education and work, the inaccessibility of housing for young people and less linear career trajectories have given rise to a new generation of globally minded talent eager for experience-driven lifelong learning.

At the Class of 2020, we were originally inspired to explore the role of the purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) industry in shaping urban ecosystems for living and learning. Approaching 2020, these are exciting times for the industry, as we observe a blend between student housing, co-living, short stay concepts and hospitality all contributing to more diverse options for accommodating individualised young urbanites. In wrapping our minds around the progression of PBSA and the complexities of accommodating talent in cities, we have been excited to find a number of accompanying ‘blends’ in university-city life.

Educational institutions, employers and the real-estate sector are all finding ways to innovate in the spaces of living-working-learning. We witness the ultimate mash-up of these efforts in the urban campus, where the civic university connects to business through start-up incubators, living research projects and co-working spaces. 

The co-revolution itself has expanded beyond co-working and co-living to include urban third-spaces, communal education and childcare and even district-level master planning. Intergenerational co-living schemes blend young and old to form mutually beneficial relationships. In times of political uncertainty and in post-Brexit Europe, higher education institutions blur geographical boundaries by partnering with foreign cities to establish branch campuses. Amid all of this, mental health and loneliness during times of transition continue to be a major challenge on everybody to address – from universities and accommodation providers to designers.

Our experience has shown that making the most of these blends requires a collaborative approach. There are no one-size-fits all solutions for the global housing crisis, talent attraction and retention, mental wellbeing, urban regeneration or innovating higher education. Instead, these complex and contextual issues demand stakeholders of all types to come to the table to share solutions, establish partnerships and imagine a more user-centred and sustainable future. Our conference will provide a forum to bridge communities still disconnected, prompting attendees to expand their thinking beyond sector boundaries through panels exploring topics as diverse as the rise of global branch campuses, technology and the digitisation of higher education, the legacy and future of student housing, new frontiers of the co-revolution, intergenerational living, hospitality-driven living concepts and designing for and supporting mental wellbeing.

The conference on Blended Living to be held in Berlin from 6–7 November will bring together the real-estate industry, higher education providers, policy-makers and city governments with a range of enterprises connected or interested in the future of living, working and learning. The conference aims to inform, challenge, inspire and provide networking opportunities with the most important leaders in the field.

The Class of 2020’s conference will be held at Arena Berlin from 6–7 November 2019. For more information regarding the conference please visit:

For sponsorship and exhibition space at The Class Conference 2019, please contact Carolina Suarez: