How living has changed

How living has changed

Today, an apartment is primarily a personal retreat. © flashfilm, Getty Images

The topic of “living” is omnipresent. Everyone lives somewhere. But the meaning and purpose of an apartment have changed over the centuries. In the inhabited four walls, regardless of whether you own or rent a property, the personality shows itself today. Although an apartment is no longer primarily there to protect against the weather and wild animals, it has become a safe space more than ever.

With a view to the fact that living and working are increasingly merging with one another, but nowadays more value is placed on mental health and retreat areas, the question rightly arises: How can this be reconciled? And how has living changed compared to before?

A journey through the history of housing

In the beginning there was sedentariness. It marks the beginning of home decor since the Neolithic Revolution. The oldest archaeological finds show houses from 5500 BC. after. The people lived as extended families together with their livestock under one roof. But even before that, there were sociological communities.

Between the 1st and 5th centuries, the Roman occupiers brought various forms of housing to all of Europe. With regard to the construction of houses, a distinction was made between a town house (here the atrium house should be mentioned) and a country house (the classic villa rustica).

It was not until the 12th and 13th centuries that a new change took place, when the stable houses in the country were expanded by a third room. In addition to the living area and stable area, a hallway was established.

In the late Middle Ages, the living spaces of parents, children and servants were more divided. In the early 16th century, it was the Fugger family of merchants who developed the first living concept of the social settlement, which still exists today: the Fuggerei.

Only in the 19th century was living designed more individually. Various retreats were created, such as the study or the salon. The poorer petty bourgeoisie also tried to tie in with the living culture of the upper class, albeit to a lesser extent.

The todays perspective of living

With urbanization and industrialization, living has taken the last decisive step. Since the emergence of modernity, what living should look like has manifested itself in us. According to the two Sociologists Hartmut Häußermann and Walter Siebel four or five features characterize the ideal type of modern living. All characteristics also appear in the pre-modern epochs, but in some cases one has to take a critical look at them for the current time.

separation from work and living

Admittedly, in times of working from home, this point becomes a bit vague. In the meantime, there has been a concrete separation of living and working, with people leaving their homes to work. With increasing digitization and the beginning of the Corona crisis, however, it has become apparent that working from home has become a legitimate form of work. In order to be able to mentally switch between work and free time at home, it makes sense to relocate your work to an office where you simply close the door after working hours.

The Living together from family members

In most cases, family members still live under one roof today – with the exception of flat shares. In the meantime, the circle of those who share a house has been reduced to the core family, but many families are now finding pleasure in multi-generational living again. This has the advantage that the grandparents can look after the grandchildren while the parents take care of the everyday errands for the older generation. A win-win situation for everyone involved. Nevertheless, this form of living is not for everyone and some people are reluctant to give up their privacy.

The apartment as a retreat

During Corona, staying within your own four walls was at times a compulsion, but in the meantime, for many, the apartment has voluntarily become a personal retreat. Here you can relax and calm down in stressful times by locking out everyday life. Whether city dweller or country dweller, whether old building or new building, with a little patience everyone can find their personal retreat that fits their budget.

The Apartment as would

Today, an apartment is no longer just living space, but a coveted commodity. Every household has to provide itself with adequate living space; help from above is only available in financial emergencies. Although there are many vacancies, the search for an apartment is a hot topic. With the development of living space as a commodity, a new professional group has also emerged: real estate agents. They help on the one hand in the search for living space, on the other hand in the search for tenants or buyers.

As with all goods, there are experts who know how to buy and sell. Of course, the best should come out of it for all sides. Discretion and reliability are two aspects that the Realtor in Hildesheim turn off.

The technical Influence

A heating system has developed from a simple fireplace, water and sanitary installations have developed from a well. Technical progress has a significant impact on living space. Today it is smart homes that attract us, in the past it might have been a fireplace. Where the technical journey will go in the next few years is uncertain.


Living is like fashion: everything comes back again. From stable houses as the original form of reconciling living and working under one roof to multi-generational living, which has been practiced for many centuries, the following applies to living: Anything that pleases you and makes you feel comfortable is allowed.


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