Small Grant Scheme on Pandemics, Cities, Regions & Industry: The growth of remote working during the Covid-19 pandemic and the renewed role of coworking spaces in peripheral areas
Research Team: Prof. Ilaria Mariotti (Dept. of Architecture and Urban Studies – Politecnico di Milano) and Dr. Dante Di Matteo (Dept. of Architecture and Urban Studies – Politecnico di Milano).
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has rapidly altered the habits and lifestyle of worldwide populations and will have effects in the medium-long run. The need of «social distancing» has encouraged a reschedule of the working methods, and it was particularly visible in the service industry, where remote working (RW) achieved the limelight. When the ‘Second place’ (office) cannot be used for work, and the home (‘First place’) is not the best option (i.e. it is small, crowded and noise), the ‘Third place’ (i.e. coworking space – CS) may better meet the worker’s needs. In Norway and Spain, the government has promoted the location of public CSs in peripheral areas with the purpose to foster RW, thus reducing commuting towards urban areas, congestion, and pollution, and facilitating work-life balance.
Within this context, the project focuses on the changes in the way of working and aims at exploring whether and how CSs located in peripheral/suburban areas can support and supply these changes. The aim is to develop a pilot study of a CS model in peripheral and/or suburban areas in Lombardy region, which has been severely hit by the pandemic, hosts a significant share of commuting flows towards the capital city of Milan as well as a significant share of remote workers. The developed CS model, supporting and supplying the working changes, will be tested through semi-structured interviews with stakeholders – including the members of the CA18214 “New working spaces and impact on the periphery” (https://www.nmbu.no/en/projects/new-working-spaces), of which Ilaria Mariotti is Chair, and Dante Di Matteo member of the Italian Team-. The pilot study, which can be able to be repeated at national scale in peripheral/suburban areas, might help policy makers to frame tailored policy tools to face the post pandemic and, in case, also a new wave of the Covid-19.
We are grateful and thankful for the support that we have received from the ‘RSA Small Grant Scheme on Pandemics, Cities, Regions and Industry’. This grant will allow us to develop our research project, which concerns a novel phenomenon that will lead to long-term effects. Moreover, this opportunity will enable us to develop a pilot study, which may be replicated at the national and international scale, with a focus on peripheral/suburban areas, as well as supporting policy makers to frame tailored policy tools to face the post-Pandemic area.