Communal living is more efficient
Written in late 2020.
Recently I was checking out the construction progress on a small home that, in the near future, I'll probably live in for a couple of months. I survey it every day, and there was no more progress today than yesterday. But today I realized something important and that made me much more attracted to the thought of communal living: I value efficiency more than privacy.
I was looking at all the appliances: dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer, refrigerator. Having each of these in every house is crazy. In my current home where 4 people live with 2-4 others as company most days, all of these machines except the fridge sit unused 90% of the time.
During that time, there are 9 times as many other people who could in theory make use of them, but they've bought their own instead. It's a massive waste.
I have seen public laundromats, though I've never really used them. Now I want to. Ultimately it's a choice between efficiency and privacy, and it may not have always been this way but in recent years I've been growing a strong preference for efficiency. Being a programmer and Unix zealot has taught me to hate unnecessary things, sometimes more than broken things.
Having a laundry machine in every house feels to me like:
Every program defining the same utility function, instead of it being in the standard library
Every web browser having a built-in PDF viewer, instead of outsourcing it to an external dedicated app
I want to live in a place without my own laundry machines. I phrased that deliberately - now that I prefer it in theory, I would prefer it aesthetically independently of it actually being better.