Although coworking spaces (CWS) in smaller cities and rural areas are on the rise worldwide, knowledge about these types is still limited. In this qualitative study, we examine various factors from both the operator and user perspective, highlighting the challenges in setting up CWS in suburban and rural areas. A major barrier is the adoption and diffusion of new (urban) workplace practices related to coworking, which are often not yet established in these geographical areas. Furthermore, the results imply that the public sector has a key role to play in enabling coworking in such areas in its function as operator and (financial) supporter. This is linked to certain objectives, in particular the revitalisation of village or small city centres and attraction of creative people.
- Coworking spaces
- Rural areas
- Workplace practices
- Operator models
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Aigner-Walder, B., & Döring, T. (2012). Standortwettbewerb und wissensbasierte Stadt-und Regionalentwicklung im strukturschwachen Raum: Eine Fallanalyse.
Andersson, D. E., & Andersson, Å. E. (2019). Phase transitions as a cause of economic development. In Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space (Bd. 51, Nummer 3, S. 670–686).
Autio, E., Nambisan, S., Thomas, L. D. W., & Wright, M. (2018). Digital affordances, spatial affordances, and the genesis of entrepreneurial ecosystems. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 12(1), 72–95. https://doi.org/10.1002/sej.1266.
Avdikos, V., & Merkel, J. (2019). Supporting open, shared and collaborative workspaces and hubs: Recent transformations and policy implications. Urban Research & Practice, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1080/17535069.2019.1674501.
Bögenhold, D., Heinonen, J., & Akola, E. (2014). Entrepreneurship and independent professionals: Social and economic logics. International Advances in Economic Research, 20(3), 295–310. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11294-014-9474-z.
Bouncken, R. B., & Reuschl, A. J. (2018). Coworking-spaces: How a phenomenon of the sharing economy builds a novel trend for the workplace and for entrepreneurship. Review of Managerial Science, 12(1), 317–334. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11846-016-0215-y.
Brodel, D., Disho, S., & Pibal, F. (2015). Alpe Adria coworking. Empiric survey about the status quo and potential of the coworking concept in the Alps-Adriatic region. Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, School of Management. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5RD2jK4Euu9bzI3X29oSW1QaUU/view
Cowie, P., Thompson, N., & Rowe, F. (2013). Honey Pots and Hives: Maximising the potential of rural enterprise hubs. Centre for Rural Economy.
Florida, R., Adler, P., & Mellander, C. (2017). The city as innovation machine. Regional Studies, 51(1), 86–96. https://doi.org/10.1080/00343404.2016.1255324.
Fuzi, A. (2015). Co-working spaces for promoting entrepreneurship in sparse regions: The case of South Wales. Regional Studies, Regional Science, 2(1), 462–469. https://doi.org/10.1080/21681376.2015.1072053.
Garrett, L. E., Spreitzer, G. M., & Bacevice, P. A. (2017). Co-constructing a sense of community at work: The emergence of community in coworking spaces. Organization Studies, 38(6), 821–842. https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840616685354.
Gioia, D. A., Corley, K. G., & Hamilton, A. L. (2013). Seeking qualitative rigor in inductive research: Notes on the gioia methodology. Organizational Research Methods, 16(1), 15–31. https://doi.org/10.1177/1094428112452151.
Gregg, M., & Lodato, T. (2018). Managing community: Coworking, hospitality and the future of work. In B. Röttger-Rössler & J. Slaby (Hrsg.), Affect in relation. Families, places, technologies (S. 175–196). Routledge.
Jamal, A. C. (2018). Coworking spaces in mid-sized cities: A partner in downtown economic development. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 50(4), 773–788. https://doi.org/10.1177/0308518X18760857.
Knapp, M. T. (2020). Independent Professionals: Knowledge-intensive work between the professions and new expert occupations. In H. Bichler-Ripfel & F. Kragulj (Hrsg.), Building future competences. challenges and opportunities for skilled crafts and trades in the knowledge economy (1. Auflage, Bd. 2, S. 126–141). IAGF - Institute for Applied Research on Skilled Crafts and Trades, Vienna, Austria.
Kojo, I., & Nenonen, S. (2017). Evolution of co-working places: Drivers and possibilities. Intelligent Buildings International, 9(3), 164–175. https://doi.org/10.1080/17508975.2014.987640.
Lorne, C. (2019). The limits to openness: Co-working, design and social innovation in the neoliberal city. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 52(4), 747–765. https://doi.org/10.1177/0308518X19876941.
Mariotti, I., Pacchi, C., & Di Vita, S. (2017). Co-working spaces in Milan: Location patterns and urban effects. Journal of Urban Technology, 24(3), 47–66. https://doi.org/10.1080/10630732.2017.1311556.
Merkel, J. (2015). Coworking in the city. Ephemera, 15(2), 121–139.
Nakano, D., Shiach, M., Koria, M., Vasques, R., Santos, E. G. dos, & Virani, T. (2020). Coworking spaces in urban settings: Prospective roles? Geoforum https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2020.04.014.
Orel, M., & Dvouletý, O. (2020). Transformative changes and developments of the coworking model: A narrative review. In V. Ratten (Hrsg.), Technological progress, inequality and entrepreneurship: From consumer division to human centricity (S. 9–27). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-26245-7_2.
Spinuzzi, C. (2012). Working alone together: Coworking as emergent collaborative activity. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 26(4), 399–441. https://doi.org/10.1177/1050651912444070.
Spinuzzi, C., Bodrožić, Z., Scaratti, G., & Ivaldi, S. (2019). “Coworking is about community”: But what is “community” in coworking? Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 33(2), 112–140. https://doi.org/10.1177/1050651918816357.
The empirical data used for this chapter has been generated in an Interreg OP SI-AT 2007-2013 funded project called “Alpe Adria Coworking” which was conducted and administered by the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences (FH Kärnten), School of Management (Brodel et al. 2015). The raw data and the permission to use them were kindly provided to us by the project manager and head of the School of Management, CUAS, Dr. Dietmar Brodel.
Editors and Affiliations
Rights and permissions
© 2021 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
About this chapter
Cite this chapter
Knapp, M.T., Sawy, A. (2021). Coworking Spaces in Small Cities and Rural Areas: A Qualitative Study from an Operator and User Perspective. In: Orel, M., Dvouletý, O., Ratten, V. (eds) The Flexible Workplace. Human Resource Management. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-62167-4_7
Publisher Name: Springer, Cham
Print ISBN: 978-3-030-62166-7
Online ISBN: 978-3-030-62167-4
eBook Packages: Business and ManagementBusiness and Management (R0)