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Co-working spaces now taking over carparks

Co-working is known for innovation but people in the US are taking the global trend to a whole new level.

In the busy bayside area of San Francisco, workers have begun setting up pop-up co-working spaces in roadside car parking spots. The makeshift offices cost as little as $US2.25 per hour.

WePark

WePark started as a joke, but it has since developed into a social movement that challenges us to rethink how we use space in cities. Picture: WePark/Twitter

To Australians, it may sound unbelievable, but the trend is no joke. In fact, the movement is partly an attempt to spark debate around the difference in costs between a co-working desk in the Downtown area or Financial District of San Francisco – which costs between $950 and $1500 per month according to a study by online news source Allwork.Space – and a similarly located carpark space, which can be hired for pocket change.

It started out as a bit of fun on Twitter, with the first WePark event held in April.

But it quickly gained momentum, attracting an estimated 30 people over the workday, who showed up with portable desks and chairs, according to local media.

Creator Victor Pontis, who is a San Francisco-based entrepreneur, has since held another 15 WePark events.

Copycats have also begun to set up similar co-working events in other American and European cities.

So much interest has been shown in the movement that Pontis has been contacted by several global media outlets about his WePark events.

“It’s a simple idea – take your desk to a parking spot, pay the meter, and work at an inexpensive office,” Pontis wrote on Twitter.

“But it shows that the real estate we use for parking can be put to a lot of other uses – offices, sidewalks, bike lanes, transit, housing, retail and parks.

“The meter rate is usually a few dollars per hour or less.

“It is a ridiculously low rate for what is prime real estate in our cities.”

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Pontis describes the events as co-working parties and says members simply turn up and pay the meter when necessary.

WiFi is provided by nearby free networks or mobile phone hot spots, but desks and stationery supplies are BYO.

Home to startup mecca Silicon Valley, San Francisco is considered the co-working capital of the US, and boasts some of the most innovative spaces in the world.

 

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