Exit 9 Economic Center – Next EDC Discussion

At the next Economic Development Committee, rather than talking design standards, I would like to spend a little time discussing uses in the district. In particular, working out the concept that is coming up more and more.

First, should we call this an “Innovation District”? Innovation Districts attempt to provide flexible opportunities for an area to react to the rapidly changing technology. I think this is a big part of what we have discussed in recent meetings.

Second, we have discussed allowing the use of space to be fairly flexible. One concept that is out there is the idea of “Collaborative Workspaces”. These follow the ’80’s term “Incubator Spaces” and more modern terms like “Coworking Spaces.”

We have discussed the idea that the space would allow for business start-up, and the quick changes that may affect a start-up facility. For instance, Starbucks started as a coffee shop. It evolved into a coffee producer with products sold in most grocery stores. We might have a start up videographer or someone working in computer animation that could become a major movie production facility (ala Pixar). We want this space to be able to adapt as a business grows and branches out. We also want the space to be shared so that symbiotic relationships might be created. The videographer might work closely with a start up marketing group that they have coffee with on a daily basis, that leads to both of these entities to open up new markets for one another. The goal is to create opportunities for a new creative economy.

So, to that effect, I would like to start the discussion here, and bring it over to the EDC meeting on August 20th, of the concept of Collaborative Workspace:

Definition:

Collaborative Workspace – shared space for those looking to lease a work area and have access to a shared pool of amenities, like conference rooms, office supplies, and internet and tech connections. Facilities provide space for networking, events, working alone or with others, pop-up shops, and workshops. Collaborative Workspaces may include services such as retail sales, food services, facilities for professional office, light manufacturing, common storage, packing, and distribution. Such facilities encourage business collaboration, and provide opportunities for product aggregation, information sharing, and partnering on events and market promotion.

Within the Intent portion of the by-law

The key features that make for a collaborative office space:

·         An open plan and other design features (e.g., high-traffic staircases) that encourage accidental interactions.

·         More common areas than are strictly necessary—multiple cafeterias, other places to read and work that encourage workers to leave confined offices.

·         Emphasis on areas that hold two or more people, rather than single-occupancy offices.

·         Purpose-free generic “thinking” areas in open-plan spaces, which encourage workers to do their thinking in the presence of other people, rather than alone.

Source: How to Build a Collaborative Office Space Like Pixar and Google

Ultimately, the goal for this district is to make this the center of the Cape’s 20 and 30 year old workforce by creating a zoning district that will encourage them to create here on Cape Cod. Of course that does require the district to also provide other quality of life amenities such as affordable housing and out-of-work activities.

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