The COST Members of the COST Action CA18214 have organized several webinars with the major focus on the impacts of COVID-19 on New Working Spaces and the potentials of the peripheral and rural areas. The 10 webinars have involved academics from the CA18214 and other international experts, as well as stakeholders, such as managers, directors and founders of new working spaces (e.g. coworking, maker spaces and public libraries), from USA, UK, Portugal, France, Norway, Finland, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, Luxembourg, and Italy. Four of them were arranged in Italian in order to engage local stakeholders in the debate.
The invited speakers provided several insights and new scenarios for the current second phase of the COVID and post-pandemic situations. During the talks, several issues have been raised such as i) having a safe and health working environment; ii) getting a new worklife balance, considering the additional familiy and gender issues which have mainly penalized women working from home; iii) providing new layouts in the new working spaces ( e.g. more spacious and flexible); iv) rethinkg the traditional building offices (e.g. by providing larger open spaces, and by renting working spaces in coworking spaces); and v) using different spaces for working in addition to home, (e.g. coworking, public libraries and coffee shops).
Amongst our invited speakers, there is a common understanding that the COVID has significantly affected our way of working which has become dramatically flexible and digital. On the other hand, the physical structure of our cities (e.g. the densest areas in our urban regions) and the public transport were not prepared to counteract the COVID. Compact cities and neighborhoods have become the epicenters of the resulting crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Less dense peripheries and rural areas have been reconsidered for offering closer proximity to outdoor spaces, access to green sites, and today they are more healthy and safer environment. In addition, the office and residential buildings present several limitations considering the new needs of people during the COVID-19 and post pandemic period. For example, cubicles are small and meeting rooms do not guarantee the social distancing. In addition to this, there is a lack of additional rooms for working in most of our homes (first place)
In this context, new working spaces can represent an alternative to the traditional offices (second places) for many of the experts and stakeholders which have been invited to the webinar. New workng spaces are considered as more sustainable locations, both socio-economically due to safer socio-spatial interactions and affordable places and environmentally (less commuting to the office and larger use of new working spaces in the neighborhood where we live). On the other hand, they are other factors to investigate such as the affordability of new working spaces and capacity to accommodate the increasing demand, as well as the provision of public and private services for those people that work in new working spaces.
After the lockdown, governments across the world have been developing policies and putting measures in place to protect businesses and entrepreneurs, including several types of new working spaces and related managers (e.g. deferring tax payments, postponing loans, reimbursing companies by governments and applying for credits). These temporary policy and measures, however, might support some business afloat during that time. Thus, experts and stakeholders are now interested in contributing to frame the tailored policy tools and governance actions that can be taken for new working spaces, in order to face several phases of the pos-pandemic, and, possible new waves of the Covid-19 or similar pandemics in the future.
The webinars were organized periodically during the first wave of the pandemic as you can see from https://www.nmbu.no/en/projects/new-working-spaces/about/news.
The 10 webinars have been organized in collaboration between DASTU (Department of Architecture and Urban Studies, Politecnico di Milano) with Ilaria Mariotti (Action Chair) and Irene Manzini Ceinar (WG member) and Universita' Cattolica, Milano, with Ivana Pais, Cecilia Manzo and Alessandro Gerosa (COST members).
The webinars were mainly offered in English at https://www.facebook.com/COSTActionCA18214NeW.Sp, while three talks with local stakeholders were held in Italian at FB page Coworkers in emergenza COVID-19- https://www.facebook.com/groups/886380135100739
1.Coworking,creativita’ e Covid. Come gestire spazi e comunita’ in tempi di crisi by Jasmine Deza, October 29, 2020 (Italian language)
2.Smart working and coworking, July 21, 2020, by Cecilia Manzo (Italian language)
3.Public libraries as co-working and maker spaces in Nordic countries, June 30, 2020, by Mina Di Marino (English language)
4.Working in post-COVID times: may local coworking be the future trend, June 25, 2020, by Irene Manzini Ceinar (English language)
5.Coworking and real estate in post pandemic times, June 10, 2020 by Chiara Tagliaro (English language)
6.Gender issues and parents in smart-working due to the Covid-19 pandemic, May 28, 2020, by Mina Akhavan (English language)
7.Remote working in the periphery and policy measures, May 20, 2020, by Ilaria Mariotti (Italian language)
8.Impact of Covid19 on the coworking spaces and new working spaces and the renewed role of peripheral areas,May 13, 2020, by Ilaria Mariotti (English language)
9.Impact of Covid 19 on policies and measaures, May 2, 2020, by Carolina Pacchi (English language)
10.Coworkes in emergenza Covid, April 25, 2020 by Ivana Pais (Italian language)
In addition, 3 webinars have been arranged by CA18214 with Bastian Lange, MC member http://rgcs-owee.org/ and other colleagues from the Research Group on Collaborative Spaces
- Rural coworking spaces. How are networks and communities changing thrpugh the effects of the pandemic? June 24, 2020
- Regional Sovereignty from the point of view of new working and living conditions in peripheries' November 4, 2020
- Collaborative Spaces and supporting policies in times of pandemic. What are practical measures for policy makers post-Covid19 to help build innovative solutions with collaborative spaces?' October 6, 2020