June 17 2013

New Working Spaces for New Working Conditions: The Rise of Co-Working Spaces

It’s been a hard day’s night
And I’ve been working like a dog
It’s been a hard day’s night
I should be sleeping like a log

If the Beatles had the chance to rewrite these verses today, they should probably take into account that a rising number of city dwellers work at night and sleep at day. Apart from this shift on the natural rhythms of day-night cycle of life, some also work on Saturdays or even Sundays, thus participating in the creation of 24/7 non-stop streaming cityscapes. At the same time, a great number of digitally-based works  -mobile phone industries, on line marketing, blogging, web programming, etc.-  can be conducted practically anywhere: at home, in a neighborhood café, in a public library, in the new, so-called, co-working spaces from a near or a faraway city. Therefore, we are witnessing a constant reshaping of the meaning of work in relation to time and place that subsequently provokes domino changes to both downtowns and smaller cities of the periphery, and a rise to the new questions urban planners should answer regarding the future city.

 Loft2Work co-working Space in Athens

In near future, these changes will be gradually more visible, alongside and due to forthcoming technological advances. According to the prognostics, product manufacturing, for example, soon will be homemade. Will these progresses zero the distance between home and work practically for every economic sector? Will commuting to and forth to the traditional physical markets still exist? Will we still be in need of massive blocks of offices? How will working conditions shape our cities after all? From this point of view, collaborative working spaces, that will probably soon be the norm, can be seen as a smaller ring to a longer chain of forthcoming changes in the working modes under the forces of the technological pressures with unpredictable repercussions. One prime example of these spaces is the Loft2Work Social enterprise in the heart of Athens, where these images are also coming from.

Loft2Work co-working Space in Athens

In Greece, the boom of co-working spaces has widely been regarded as a response of young creative, and highly-educated, people who have decided to stay in Greece to deal with the current economical struggle under the notions of self-organizing and collaboration. But one could also wonder whether they can be seen just as small paradises of creativity and synergy or as a reflection of the economical and technological generated ambiguities within a deeply competitive working environment without the minimal social safety net.

What’s your personal opinion of the co-working spaces you have visited?

Credits: Data and images linked to sources.

Alkisti Eleni Victoratou

Alkisti Eleni Victoratou originates from Andros, a Cycladic island in Greece, and has lived and studied in Thessaloniki, England, Spain, and Athens-where she currently resides. She holds a B.A. in Economics from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and in Architecture from the National Technical University of Athens. Having this multicultural and interdisciplinary background gives her a better understanding of socially sensitive urban issues. Her dissertation thesis in Architecture dealt with the study and assessment of the legislation relating to Bioclimatic Architecture in the European Mediterranean countries of France, Spain, and Greece. Her interests also extend to sustainable technologies and parametric design, contributing to building design and urbanism. During her internship with The Grid, she will concentrate on the most important top-down and bottom-up urban transformations of Athens during their current Crisis. Her aspirations are to further her academic and professional specializations in urban issues and sustainable design.

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This entry was posted on Monday, June 17th, 2013 at 9:32 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Social/Demographics, Technology, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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