CE22 - Mobilité et systèmes urbains durables

Working in the margin? Collaborative spaces as nodes of a new mobility system outside metropolis – PERI_WORK

Submission summary

For a few years, we have observed the rise of new collaborative work spaces (NCWSs) remote from major cities. These places of social interaction echo the expectations of a population looking to evolve at the fringe, both geographically (away from great urban centers) and socially speaking (hoping for greater work life balance). This international project aims at studying the part played by these new peripheral centralities for workers. A multidisciplinary team of researchers working on German, Belgian, Canadian and French research fields will detail the impact on mobilities for the territories studied. This research project deepens and reorients another approaching completion on third places (INTIMIDE financed by the GIS M@rsouin and the Région Bretagne).

The choices made by a new generation of independent workers, relying mostly on digital technology for their professional activities, could revitalize non metro areas often faced with the loss of economic and social activity and with negative net migration. This possibility depends both on the way these workers insert in a professional, institutional or social network and on the way they might contribute to their territory’s development be it direct or indirect. From this perspective, the emergence of NCWSs outside large metropolises works as part of the great societal trends at work today and notably the blurring between the location of residence and the location of work. The expectations of young workers regarding life and work quality, daily commute and the means of transportation to choose from –and more largely environmental stakes– remap the relationship to the territory and mobilities.

Even if this trend remains rather uncommon, the growing part of these workers –among which a large part of independent workers, lonely entrepreneurs and teleworkers– testifies to the evolutions of our society. We postulate for these populations the existence of a larger life project, including not only their professional aspirations and activities but also their expectations in terms of life quality. The approach chosen differs from major explanations of professional mobility and residential choices as it includes non-economical and extra-professional arguments in our analysis model.

The problematic is interested in knowing whether NCWs can become nodes of temporary spatial concentration as places of meeting and activity and intermediaries to access physical (face-to-face peer groups) and digital (broadband) networks. We are suggesting that nodes are forming at the margin of metropolises bringing about a relative centrality, far from traditional major actors and yet essential to the career path of independent workers.

The objectives of the research follow three lines. The aim is:
1/ to understand the role of NCWSs by studying the geographical and social characteristics and paths of individuals who join them and the interactions between users and founding members within a common space and their external relations;
2/ to observe the various mobilities generated on the territory by these NCWSs and measure their ability to form a node, that is to say to become points of anchorage and territorial adherence;
3/ to analyze how individuals view their future in order to propose a prospective analysis of NCWSs that will be useful to the definition of planning strategies.

Project coordinator

Monsieur Gerhard Krauss (ESPACES ET SOCIETES)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LIRIS Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Recherche en Innovations Sociétales
ARUC TÉLUQ, Université du Québec / ARUC (Alliance de recherche université-communauté)
York University / Glendon Campus
LEGO Laboratoire d'Economie et de Gestion de l'Ouest
Université McGill / McGill School of Urban Planning

Help of the ANR 290,390 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: September 2018 - 36 Months

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