Coworking in the city

Author: Janet Merkel
Published in: November 2015 in Ephemera Journal: Theory and Politics in Organisation

Why we select this research:

The content of this paper contains information collected through 25 semi-structured interviews with coworking hosts in Berlin, London, and New York. The research provides insights into the coworking phenomenon from the host’s perspective in three major cities which could help you understand how social structure is evolving from coworking community.

Key findings

The practice of coworking can be performed in unique physical settings that is not limited to shared office space. Since empirical research shows that co-workers often work individually together without much interaction, coworking hosts play an important role in translating values of coworking space and in facilitating teamwork. Indirectly, hosts are also responsible for shaping cultural dynamic of a city by building community around co-workers and provide them with financial flexibility. 

This way, unfamiliar physical territory transforms coworking into a new type of sociomaterial infrastructure for cities. Therefore, coworking becomes a new challenge for policymakers in order to deal with emerging social practice (i.e. labour organisation) in contemporary form of urbanism.

  • 58% of co-workers used to work at home before they joined a coworking space. 
  • 84% of co-workers joined coworking space for the opportunity to interact and communicate
  • Social interaction (84%), random encounters and opportunities (82%), and sharing of information and knowledge (77%), are the most attractive features of coworking space. 


Merkel, J. (2015) Coworking in the city. Ephemera, 15(2), pp. 121-139. Retrieved from: