The book tells the story of communal living from about 1850 until today. Three motives of sharing - the economic, political and social intention - divide the residential objects, which are investigated in a historical analysis and allocated to nine development phases.
The author investigates and compares different forms of housing and the way they developed from their origins until today; she illustrates how everyday shared living and the degrees of privacy in housing are practiced in Europe.
Owing to its comprehensive documentation, the analysis of typologies, layout plans, and user and expert interviews, the book can also be considered to be a lexicon or handbook on communal living. A detailed overview that is unique in this form.