Saturday, 4 August 2012
Italian architect, entrepreneur, community developer, and curious observer, Andrea Paoletti states a case for rural co-working, "If more informal coworking spaces were created in rural and natural settings it would generate a unique opportunity to connect social entrepreneurs with local communities. The ideas and projects created there will have a much better chance of making a direct impact on local rural communities..."
I came across this note from Paoletti after some coworking groups began to follow me on Twitter @CREandET. So I started to do some digging about coworking and ended up signing the Coworking Manifesto. The manifesto supports redefining the way we work; "inspired by the participatory culture of the open source movement and the empowering nature of IT ...".
Wikipedia defines coworking as "a style of work that involves a shared working environment, often an office, and independent activity." Coworking also deals with shared ideas. Apparently coworking attracts entrepreneurs and work-at-home professionals -- people mostly in the creative industries and new media. Its short history is primarily urban, having started in 2006 with the "Hat Factory" in San Fransisco and is now spread worldwide. Coworking involves community building and sustainability.
OK, so how can coworking impact rural communities?
Wyoming freelance writer, Beth Buczynski notes that the coworking community has seen a surge in rural towns, "... areas where the population is quite small and something other than technology is the main industry", but requires some educational legwork on the concept. Buczynski tells of Mark W. Kidd who is building a coworking community in Whitesburg, Kentucky (population 2,000) and has attracted a diverse cross-section of people. She describes five essential tools for setting up a coworking space:
Diversity in rural communities is seen as a benefit for coworking.
Want to start a rural coworking environment?
"A short commute, reliable internet, coffee, print technologies, proximity to local eateries and services, affordable work space, access to a diverse community of professionals, opportunities for continuing education, and child care were all mentioned as things that attracted rural entrepreneurs to coworking communities."
LINK: Origins and future of Coworking (YouTube video)