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Coworking Spaces and New Social Relations: A Focus on the Social Streets in Italy

Department of Architecture and Urban Studies—Politecnico di Milano, Milan 2013, Italy
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Urban Sci. 2019, 3(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci3010002
Received: 11 October 2018 / Revised: 9 November 2018 / Accepted: 10 December 2018 / Published: 24 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sharing Cities Shaping Cities)
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Abstract

The late 2000s witnessed a wide diffusion of innovative workplaces, named coworking spaces, designed to host creative people and entrepreneurs: the coworkers. Sharing the same space may provide a collaborative community to those kinds of workers who otherwise would not enjoy the relational component associated with a traditional corporate office. Coworking spaces can bring several benefits to freelancers and independent workers, such as knowledge transfer, informal exchange, cooperation, and forms of horizontal interaction with others, as well as business opportunities. Moreover, additional effects may concern the urban context: from community building, with the subsequent creation of social streets, and the improvement of the surrounding public space, to a wider urban revitalization, both from an economic and spatial point of view. These “indirect” effects are neglected by the literature, which mainly focuses on the positive impact on the workers’ performance. The present paper aimed to fill the gap in the literature by exploring the effects of coworking spaces in Italy on the local context, devoting particular attention to the relation with social streets. To reach this goal, the answers (236) to an on-line questionnaire addressed to coworkers were analysed. The results showed that three quarters of the coworkers reported a positive impact of coworking on the urban and local context, where 10 out of 100 coworking spaces developed and/or participated in social streets located in Italian cities, but also in the suburban and peripheral areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: coworking spaces; social street; social relations; local communities coworking spaces; social street; social relations; local communities
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Akhavan, M.; Mariotti, I.; Astolfi, L.; Canevari, A. Coworking Spaces and New Social Relations: A Focus on the Social Streets in Italy. Urban Sci. 2019, 3, 2.

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