The Social and Creative Community publishes its 3rd Policy Brief, dedicated to coworking.
Co-work facilities or shared and/or temporary offices are spreading across Europe in response to a growing demand for flexible working spaces meeting the needs of independent professionals.
The Social and Creative Interreg MED project running from November 2016 through April 2018, is exploring this topic and its potential for the Mediterranean Space. The project defines coworking as follows:
"A coworking space is a physical space aiming to build and implement a dynamic community of users sharing a propensity to foster collaborative, open and sustainable relationships. Coworking spaces are actively managed to promote these goals, also by organizing events and activities supporting mutual learning and exchanges and by developing new functional typologies and interactions with other services or centers."
At a recent international event, the Catalonia Coworking Day organized by project partner COWOCAT on June 29th, 2017, a range of participants from Spain, France and Italy discussed their different coworking initiatives. These range broadly in terms of scale (from ten to 1,000 workers), location (urban, peripheral and rural settings) and governance, but all share the key elements of bringing free-lance professionals together in an open working environment. The most advanced examples share a strong dimension of community, interdisciplinary and shared values, projecting a new vision of work itself.
As COWORKMED proceeds to map the growing phenomenon of coworking and build a transnational cluster of coworking communities, it is useful to also consider the broader potentials of coworking for regional decision makers interested in social innovation and innovation policy in general. These aspects were explored in Social & Creative International Seminar featured by the Interreg MED Talia horizontal project organized in conjunction with the COWORKMED event in Barcelona. This Policy Briefing develops the key issues that emerged from that encounter as regards an emergent model of work and its implication for the socioeconomic inclusion of young people as well as its impact on urban dynamics, closing with suggestions on how local and regional policy makers can maximize the potential impact of coworking in their territories.