CORAL-ITN joins the 2022 Regions in Recovery E-Festival with a special session.

We are inviting contributions that deal with the exploration of the multiple ways that CWS function in rural areas and peripheral towns and regions

Click here to submit an abstract to the SS10 special session organized by the CORAL-ITN team.

Abstract submission deadline: 17th January 2022

Deadline extended: 31st January 2022

SS10. Collaborative workspaces and rural development (open session)

Session organisers:

  • Vasilis Avdikos, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Greece
  • Suntje Schmidt, Leibniz Institute Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS), Germany
  • Ilaria Mariotti, DAStu-Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  • Thilo Lang, Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL), Germany
  • Ignasi Capdevila, Paris School of Business, France


Collaborative workspaces (hereafter CWS), such as coworking spaces, fab labs, creative hubs etc., for freelancers, self-employed, remote workers and start-ups are increasingly gaining attention of local and regional economic development strategies and policies as they are considered important intermediaries that help deliver entrepreneurial growth and local innovation agendas (Babb et al., 2018; Capdevila, 2015; Mariotti et al., 2017; Di Marino & Lapintie, 2018)[1].

Based on Deskmag (2019)[2] we have witnessed an upsurge of CWS (600 CWS in 2010 – 18700 in 2018) with 1.65 million CWS users worldwide. CWS promote novel working practises with a collaborative, community-based approach to independent work such as freelance or self-employment, mainly in the field of cultural, digital, and creative industries (Cappelli & Keller, 2013)[3]. Whereas the vast majority of CWS are located in urban agglomerations, we recently observed the gradual spread of CWS in less densely populated cities, towns and villages in rural and even peripheral regions across the EU (Avdikos and Merkel, 2020, Fuzi, 2015)[4].

It seems that CWS may contribute to solving very specific socio-demographic challenges in these regions, such as brain drain, low investments level, low entrepreneurship level etc. Compared to urban CWS, rural CWS thereby differ in terms of scopes, functions and impacts. However, a systematic comparison between urban and rural CWS is still lacking and there is yet no clear evidence about their functions, their impacts and the ways that policymaking may (or should) promote a rural CWS wave and assist in linking the development of CWS with processes of local socio-economic development. In fact, that policy link is much needed for those disadvantaged places (Rodriguez-Pose, 2019)[5], as only a few EU policies (e.g. Interreg) have assisted, in a fragmented way, the development of CWS in peripheral and rural areas.

We are inviting contributions that deal with the exploration of the multiple ways that CWS function in rural areas and peripheral towns and regions, e.g.:

– What are the functions of CWS in rural/peripheral areas in comparison with those in urban agglomerations?

– How do CWS interact with their local socio-economic environment?

– How are CWS in rural areas embedded in translocal networks of CWS?

-How do they contribute to regional and local learning, creative, social or economic innovation or entrepreneurial processes 

-How do CWS function in local and regional markets?

– What are the public policies that support the development of CWS in small and medium cities and towns?

Submit your abstract here

The session is supported by the Marie Sklodowska Curie-Innovative Training Network CORAL: Exploring the impacts of collaborative workspaces in rural and peripheral areas in the EU ( and the COST Action CA18214 “The Geography of New Working Spaces and the Impact on the Periphery” (

[1] Babb, C., Curtis, C., & McLeod, S. (2018). The Rise of Shared Work Spaces: A Disruption to Urban Planning Policy? Urban Policy and Research, 36(4), 496-512. doi:10.1080/08111146.2018.1476230, Capdevila, I. (2015). Co-working spaces and the localised dynamics of innovation in Barcelona. International Journal of Innovation Management19(03), 1540004.,Mariotti I., Pacchi C. Di Vita S. (2017), Coworking Spaces in Milan: ICTs, Proximity, and Urban Effects, The Journal of Urban Technology, 24 (3): 47-66, DOI: 10.1080/10630732.2017.1311556; Di Marino, M., & Lapintie, K. (2018). Exploring multi-local working: challenges and opportunities for contemporary cities. International Planning Studies, 1-21. doi:10.1080/13563475.2018.1528865

[2] Deskmag. (2019). 2019 COWORKING FORECAST.

[3] Cappelli, P., & Keller, J. (2013). Classifying Work in the New Economy. Academy of Management Review, 38(4), 575-596 doi:10.5465/amr.2011.0302

[4] Avdikos, V. and Merkel, J. (2020), Supporting open, shared and collaborative workspaces and hubs: Recent transformations and policy implications, Urban Research and Practice, DOI 10.1080/17535069.2019.1674501, 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. Doi: 10.1080/21681376.2015.1072053.

[5] Rodríguez-Pose A. (2017), The revenge of the places that don’t matter (and what to do about it), Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 11 (1): 189-209.


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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 955907.