LOS ANGELES, CA
LA was the first leg of the journey, with four spaces to get to before Amtrak-ing out to Kansas City! The first space was NextSpace in Venice. I’ve had my reserves about multi-locational spaces, always wondering how they foster the individual identity of each space and its community. But seeing the way Carl interacted with drop-ins and new members, and talking with him about the neighborhood developments, it became apparent that each NextSpace location is like the neighborhood coworking spot.
Across the street, Joe Silver is building a studio out of the old Post Office. Google opened its first office in Venice, which was soon followed by a migration of other companies and startups to the westside/Santa Monica area. The area is becoming a kind of crossroads between entertainment and tech, and has been dubbed ‘Silicon Valley’, which locals didn’t really appreciate, “…because we have our own identity that’s besides [Silicon Valley]”, Carl explained. Carl is someone who has lived in Venice Beach for over 16 years, and our conversation made me wonder – what is coworking’s role in gentrification? Perhaps it is a cause – facilitating the population that’s encroaching upon the neighborhood. Perhaps it is a result – an indication that there are already those now living in the area with higher income. Perhaps it is a buffer – providing current residents with the flexibility to work where they live. As for Carl, a long-time resident, NextSpace and coworking have provided him with a place to work (he is also a musician), and a job that he enjoys.
Watching the neighborhood go by from behind the large tinted windows, there was always a boarder or a bicycler. The sun was shining, and the beach was calling me from just two blocks away. To the land of bikes and boards, I had to bid Venice a dieu to head downtown; development is something that’s happening in Kaka’ako so I’m sure our conversations of neighborhoods and coworking will continue!
Click the pictures below for commentary descriptions!