Not Just Another Day at the Office
Two heads are better than one. Right?
That’s part of the idea behind the Allentown Economic Development Corporation‘s Hive 4A project. Hive 4A, as it describes itself on their Facebook page “is an entrepreneurial development initiative of the Allentown Economic Development Corporation. It includes a hackerspace and a coworking space, sharing a building with a business incubation program.”
I spent this past Tuesday working at Hive, instead of in the CACLV building in Bethlehem (where RenewLV is located). The idea of coworking spaces is fairly new to me, so I was not sure what to expect walking in the door. Hive currently occupies a temporary space in the old Mack building at 905 Harrison in Allentown. The room is set up with several long tables, where people can sit, pull out a laptop, and work for the day. A more permanent coworking space is planned to be completed in the same building by around mid-May. There were a wide range of people working on this particular day—a neighborhood revitalization consultant, a web designer, a magazine writer, an economic development advocate, and a social media intern/smart growth supporter—all sharing the coworking space. Every now and then, one person would ask for another’s opinion or advice (“I’m working on a few logos for this project, which do you prefer?”), while the occasional conversation would yield some interesting news or resources. For example, while talking briefly about RenewLV, one person introduced me to the Indie City Index, which examines independent retail vitality in metropolitan areas—research has shown that “independent retail produces local wealth by recirculating dollars within the community,” but that’s another discussion.
Hive also includes a Hacker space, basically an “open community lab” with workshops for hobbyists and product developers.
Coworking is a very neat concept, one which seems to be catching on. Lt. Governor of California Gavin Newsom of California made headlines this week by deciding to use a shared work space in San Francisco, rather than the more-expensive state office building where the lieutenant governor usually works. In addition to saving money, Newsom cites the benefits of the “entrepreneurial energy” in the shared space.
You can read more about the coworking space at the AEDC’s blog. For now, the space is open every Tuesday, with a 5-day-a-week setup coming soon. Give it a try this month!