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Coworking Spaces - Hubs for the Collaborative Economy

Picture: "What’s Mine Is Yours" by Rachel Botsman & Roo Rogers

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A place to host the collaborative economy

The collaborative economy certainly needs trust, but it also needs a physical space where its community can meet. Coworking spaces typically provide venues for these meetings at an attractive price, if not for free. It’s perfect for those interested in local entrepreneurs, food cooperatives, networking evenings, makers events or computer enthusiasts. Just go to sites like "Meet up" to see the number and variety of events that could be organized in coworking spaces.

A "MAKERS" community is one which fits well in a coworking space. The examples of collaborations between makers  and fablabs taking place in coworking spaces are numerous. Open Society brings communities of different types of makers together. They are now established in betahaus Berlin and hold regular "maker sessions" that are open to everyone. In a similar fashion, the Garagelab is a fablab set-up in the attic space of Garagebilk located in Düsseldorf and there are also spaces, like Mak3d in London, that offer access to prototypes of 3D printing tools

Local relays for distributed systems

Models for the collaborative economy are communities, which are participatory and also distributed. The coworking space can thus consist of local relays for these systems. This is the case of La Ruche qui dit Oui, a company that offers high quality agricultural products by facilitating connections between producers and consumers. The organization is decentralized and that allows each part to organize product distribution locally. The Parisian space Mutinerie has installed one of these markets within their space.

In the spirit of distributed collaboration, Tradeschool allows everyone to create their own classroom based on a barter between students and teachers. There are Tradeschools locally organized in over 25 cities worldwide. Some of them use coworking spaces as classrooms, like Willesden Green Library Lab, Hub Milanoin in Milan, or in Paris Mutinerie.

It seems that all areas of the collaborative economy are focusing on coworking spaces and "third-places". Perhaps it may one day be possible to combine R&D and education with such third-party sites, also enhancing participation in regards to running these spaces while simultaneously supporting a sustainable lifestyle. Together they will create a new ecosystem, since it looks like the third places and the collaborative economy are now inseparable.

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References: 

2-4 May 2013, European Festival on the collaborative economy: OuiShare fest
More than 5 million Europeans using  blablacar and carpooling
Airbnb sees a reservation every 2 secondes 
Crowdfunding platforms raised an estimated $ 3 billion dollars 

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