If you’ve ever heard of coworking before, you know that the folks who lead up coworking spaces all around the world are a bunch of folks who like to re-think the way we use space.
Well, fresh from the coworking Google Group is a new string of conversation about the creative reuse of closed pubs throughout the UK. Apparently, pubs in the UK are closing at a rate of nearly 6 per week, begging the question – what happens with these spaces once they are vacated?
Similar conversations are happening all over the world when it comes to commercial real estate – whether it’s pubs, restaurants, or other small businesses, the unfortunate truth is that many small businesses are unable to keep their doors open. Obviously, saving them from closing down in the first place would be ideal, but in the end we will still lose some businesses during this tough economic environment. So what do we do with these empty spaces?
Coworking could be one answer (I know, I’m biased on this one). What if these spaces could be rented out relatively cheaply (to keep at least some minimal income coming in for buildling owners) for workers to fill in? Sharing costs of an office is one of the biggest perks to a coworking space for independents – these spaces could allow for that to happen in a wider variety of places than just traditional office spaces. They could also allow for more neighborhood-based work options for individuals who are able to telecommute instead of commuting traditionally all over the place.
Beyond coworking, crowdsourcing these great spaces could provide a way for a group of independents to salvage and save these spaces from becoming bland fill-in businesses (do we really need another cash advance/payday loan store on our corners?), and enable them to be reflections of the people who live in the neighborhood. Imagine co-owned woodworking shops, art spaces, community kitchens…the options are endless.
What would you do with a beautiful empty space like those photographed on the “Last Orders” photo set on Flickr?