How will Covid-19 affect the growth of urban co-working spaces?

Co-working spaces have become an essential part of the digital economy, offering high-speed internet connectivity, networking opportunities and social contact for freelancers, remote workers and start-ups. They also facilitate learning, innovation and project working.

This Innovation Fund project will explore both how Covid-19 has disrupted these spaces—and their potential to become part of strategies for economic recovery.

A multi-city study of Bristol, Manchester and Brighton & Hove, all of which host multiple co-working spaces, will investigate both organisational and regional responses to Covid-19, through in-depth interviews with co-working representatives, local policymakers and stakeholders.

It aims to explore how co-working spaces develop strategies for safe reopening, financial survival and manage operational change, alongside helping local policymakers to understand the role they can play in the recovery of urban ecosystems.

This project will contribute to Digit’s research into ideas of the connected worker and the connected economy.

Research questions

  • How have co-working spaces responded to the Covid-19 crisis?
  • How do they stand to be incorporated into the economic recovery and urban regeneration efforts in the aftermath?

Researchers

Principal Investigator: Dr Harry Pitts (University of Bristol)

Co-investigators: Professor Glenn Morgan (University of Bristol), Dr Jennifer Johns (University of Bristol), Dr Malu Villela (University of Bristol), Dr Greig Charnock (University of Manchester), Dr Edward Yates (University of Sheffield)

Digit Team member: Dr Ödül Bozkurt (University of Sussex)