The second SmartAlps webinar on “Coworking spaces in the alps – an experience exchange.” has been organized by the SmartCommunity partner Swiss center for mountain regions www.sab.ch and took place on the 31st of October 2023. The seminar dealt with questions like “What are factors that are important for a successful realization and sustainable operation of a coworking space? What are possible sponsors and how can they be supported by the municipality/region?”. As an introduction we had two interventions, one from Ms Charlotte Eidenbenz cofounder of the coworking space in Nyons (France) (https://www.facebook.com/coworkingnyons/) and one of Roger Aeschbach, managing director at CommunityOffice (https://www.communityoffice.ch/) . Charlotte Eidenbenz described in her speech how they started running a coworking space in Nyons and how they want to develop it further. For the next three years the realisation of an enlarged shared office place, a flat, a meeting-conference room, a shared kitchen, adjustable spaces indoors and outdoor for events, a building for storing materials (wood/metal) and 2 low tech labs is planned. The whole concept is strongly influenced by DIY (do it yourself) so the community built around the project is developing the project in a participative way and is partly also building the infrastructure in a joint action. Furthermore, in the tech labs unused material from the local building industry is being recycled/upcycled.
In his presentation, Roger Aeschbach underlined the importance of participation as a cornerstone for the development of a coworking space and a clearly structured process design with professional guidance. A modular development model is very helpful in guiding non-linear “Bottom-Up” processes (see also https://www.communityoffice.ch/processes-index). In addition, he described different possible orientations of coworking spaces with either a focus on the local population in municipalities eg.:
- Ernen: https://coworking-ernen.ch/, https://www.communityoffice.ch/cwt3
- Trogen: https://trogen.work/
- Teufen: https://www.teufen-schafft.ch/
- Herisau: https://coworking-herisau.ch
A focus on tourism:
- Municipalities of Finhaut and Saint-Maurice VS (coworking activities are hosted by the tourist office).
- Adelboden “Mountain Lab” as a combination of tourism office & coworking space,(https://www.communityoffice.ch/cwt2)
A focus on the living space and innovation
- UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch (Swiss Regional Park): https://die-sphaere.ch
- Zukunft-Raum Schwarzwald: https://www.zukunft-raum-schwarzwald.de
After these inputs a discussion on success factors and opportunities for municipalities and regions for the implementation of coworking spaces in national language groups followed. The results are documented in the whiteboard (pdf).