Providing community services, space and connections is getting tougher. Historically the domain of churches and temples and technically a council responsibility, this key element of local support relies on vulnerable funding – and lots of good will. Local trusts have been delivering that support for decades, and it may be time for them to play a bigger role.
Workspace that Works
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with fewer than 50 employees make up 99% of London businesses and account for 41% of employment. They support economic development and are often linked with local communities. SME workspaces – including flexible workspace, accelerators, and incubators – also support regeneration by activating unused spaces and enlivening neighbourhoods,, offsetting budget cuts with business rates, offering training to local people, and bringing cultural or leisure activity. They’re a natural fit for mixed-use development in well-connected areas throughout London.
Local authorities should do all they can to support SME workspaces, which face spiralling rents and walloping rates hikes across much of the capital – not to mention competition for land due to pressure for housing. That being said, businesses and workspace providers are often reluctant to engage with a public sector they see as risk-averse, slow to act and bureaucratic.
Workspace that Works used seminars, field trips, interviews, workshops, and networking events to showcase best practice in linking workspace provision to regeneration and highlights issues local authorities and partners on mixed-use schemes should be aware of when planning workspace projects.
The issues around workspace are evolving and its importance for economic and social impact at local and regional scales is perhaps greater today than ever before. Future of London have returned to this project every year by bringing urban stakeholdes together to generate new ideas and share practical solutions. Read about our latest event, Workspace for All here.
Contact: Amanda Robinson
Workspace that Works
The final report for this project offers case studies on different types of workspaces in London, best practice and recommendations for local authorities securing workspace, and recommendations for the GLA, workspace providers, and developers. Download the report.
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