Coworking spaces are popping up in cities, large and small, all over the world. They’ve revolutionized the work model and brought life to many communities and cities, changing them for the better.
Don’t believe us? Keep reading to learn about just a couple of ways in which coworking spaces improve a city; from environmental aspects to community ones, if there’s a coworking space around you chances are you’ll see some improvements.
Melissa Saubers, CEO of Cowork Waldo in Kansas City, shares some of her thoughts on this topic.
Coworking spaces are about sharing. Melissa asserts that “anytime you are sharing resources and space, then you are positively impacting the environment. Besides, many coworking spaces are centrally located within busy, close-knit neighborhoods which leads to members often walking or riding their bikes to work.”
Many coworking spaces are also jumping on the eco-friendly boat, including Melissa’s Cowork Waldo. “We had to replace all of the lights in my coworking space, so we opted for LED lights because of the long-term impact they have on the environment.”
Think about it, coworking spaces are eco-chic; you get to turn off the lights at home, walk more, drive less, and spend less cooling or heating your house. It’s a win-win for you, the environment, and coworking operators.
Coworking spaces aren’t limited to providing a workspace; they’re also used as community spaces where people can host events and different types of meetings. In Melissa’s words: “coworking spaces are a part of the larger [community] ecosystem.” They’re an important part of this larger ecosystem because they encourage members to get involved in community activities and causes.
“Local coworking spaces often attract neighborhood and local community associations who use or rent out the space for special occasions. Where I’m from, we formed the Kansas City Coworking Alliance to help raise awareness of coworking; one of the ways in which we do this is by participating in community events.”
“The members of coworking spaces support surrounding businesses, including restaurants, shops, and various types of services. They can be a positive part of the overall economy of an area.” Because coworking spaces can be considered a part of the overall hospitality industry of a city, Melissa says, they support the city’s tourism efforts by offering a space for tourists to work while on holiday and vacation.
According to Melissa, coworking spaces have become a part of the revitalization process of neighborhoods and downtowns. Operators make “significant investments in real estate that have a positive effect on surrounding property values.” Coworking spaces have brought back to life abandoned buildings, like the case of the old Kellogg factory in Charlotte and an abandoned industrial building in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
Coworking Spaces and Kansas City
The biggest impact Melissa has observed in Kansas City is how coworking spaces are helping revive old and abandoned buildings.
“One of the best examples of this is Plexpod Westport Commons. The developers are taking the shuttered Westport middle and high schools and repurposing them into the largest coworking space in the world at over 360,000 square foot of shared workspace.”
On a different note, coworking spaces help build and nurture the city’s community. A significant percentage of coworking users are professionals who used to work from home; coworking spaces offer them a way in which to meet new people and become a part of the larger community.
And since we did mention tourism, we might as well add how GCUC went to Kansas City 2 years ago, thanks to Melissa’s prompting of course. It resulted in hundreds of thousands of tourism dollars being spent by the coworking community.
As you can see, coworking spaces are pretty awesome. On a serious note though, they can help a city change for the better, and you can be a part of this change, either as an operator or a user.
By: Ceci Amador