Edmonton could use a place like WorkSpace

A few years ago I started reading about shared workspaces. In particular, I was interested in what Boris Mann started calling The Innovation Commons – a place for “creatives” to gather and feed off one another. These are physical places, with tables and chairs and Internet connections. They are perfect for programmers, designers, mobile workers, and others who don’t necessarily need office space of their own. I love the concept, and I am happy to see it catching on in a number of places. In Toronto, there’s the Centre for Social Innovation and in Vancouver, there’s WorkSpace. I took some time to visit WorkSpace when I was there a couple weeks ago.

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Located at 21 Water Street in Gastown, WorkSpace is in a historic and unique area of Vancouver. It’s fourth floor view of the harbour is quite impressive. Sharon and I met Dane Brown, who gave us a quick tour and let us explore the place for a bit. There are small offices that can be used for breakout rooms, a larger meeting room, and lots of open space with tables and chairs. There are also private offices available, and a small cafe at the front. WorkSpace is even equipped with a shower!

Instead of renting space as you would in a traditional office building environment, WorkSpace is membership-based. For $95 per month, you can use the space after 4:30pm on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday. The rates go up from there. Full-time access costs $495 per month, and the private desks cost $595 per month. There are also drop-in prices available, starting at $25 for half a day. WorkSpace currently has about 70 members.

I think Edmonton could definitely use something like WorkSpace. Dickson and I originally got an office for Paramagnus because we knew that being in the same room together often has a really positive effect. We ended up getting rid of the office because we didn’t need it all the time, and it got to be too expensive. WorkSpace would have given us the best of both worlds.

There are lots of interesting, creative people in Edmonton working from their bedrooms and basements. Opportunities to connect are somewhat rare though, limited to events like BarCamp. I can’t even begin to imagine how positive something like WorkSpace would be!

I know I’d be a paying member if we had something like WorkSpace in Edmonton. What do you think? Would you find such a facility useful?