THE CITY AS A COMMONS RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM 2019
The WeCITY: a key for the urban tomorrow. From the artistic community to the WeWork revolution.
Knowing that 68% of global population is expected to live in urban areas by 2050 (UN, 2018), the idea of sharing becomes increasingly attractive. In a context in which the urban and natural resources will be more and more limited and our social life extremely virtual, the project of the “common space” will become a central aspect of the future city. After each period of global crisis, the interest on the coexistence emerges for the public and the private sphere with renewed strength: co-working, co-housing, co-living. This paper explores how the “co” has hit the creative space of paradigmatic New York in critical moments of its contemporary history. It will analyze and connect the shared space experience that the alternative artists’ coops conceived in the second half of the 20th Century (Simpson, 1981; Lippard, 1984; Ault, 1996) and the rebirth of this concept for the great creative sector in the 21st Century. How has this spirit been codified in the space production system? This work will analyze early projects of co-creation and recent projects of co-working, and it will eventually focus on a study case: the groundbreaking initiative by The We Company (formerly WeWork) held from New York. This entity has articulated an unprecedented market of innovative working and living spaces in which building «community» through the “shared space” is the essence of their system. Inspired by the social interaction and freedom of public space and the comfort of domestic space, their private environments seek to stimulate collaboration, inclusion, creativity and communication. In only a decade, they have developed a wide range of methods, technologies and design parameters that have attracted the attention of city theorists and makers. The quick proliferation of their ideas –the replication of their co-working model in 100 cities and 27 countries, their global community of 400,000 members, and their labs in 32 cities across 15 countries (Global Impact Report, 2019)– respond to an existing general interest in enhancing the common experience, not just for the public sector but also for the private one, contributing to shape the WeCity. What are the components of the “co” experience? What are design parameters behind the production of common space today? The conducted research ultimately reveals how the project of the space of collective use turns out to be key to the advancement of an urban society.
LOCATION: Pavia, Italy
INSITUTION: University of Pavia
Maria F. Carrascal Perez