A while back, I listed the core principles of Coworking that Citizen Space ascribes to:
- Collaboration: One of the great benefits of working in a coworking space is that you will meet all sorts of people with all sorts of knowledge.
- Openness: We believe in transparency and openness. In a world where people are free, but ideas are not, only a few benefit. When ideas are free, everyone benefits. Therefore, we encourage open spaces and discussions. Sorry, no NDAs allowed.
- Community: We thrive on connections and mutual support here. It is important that everyone give into as well as benefit from the strong (international) community coworking has become.
- Sustainability: Shared spaces are also better for the planet, so we like to take that a little further and make certain our space is very environmentally responsible. Check out the Green Business Certification process we are going through and Ivan’s post on the process.
I posted these to the list and people generally agreed that these were important and the defining philosophies behind Coworking as opposed to alternatives like coffee shops and shared offices and rent-a-desks.
Just recently, though, I realized that we missed a BIG one: Accessibility.
There are all sorts of reasons why Accessibility needs to be included in those bullet points:
- Coworking spaces are about offering affordable alternatives to the community…giving a financially accessible option to independent workers. If the space isn’t accessible, indie workers continue to work out of their living rooms and coffee shops, which Coworking is supposed to address.
- Coworking spaces are about creating diverse and open spaces for everyone irrespective of physical or perceptual abilities….thus being physically accessible is an extremely high priority for Coworking spaces. We are fortunate to have found a wheelchair accessible building for Citizen Space because we’ve had several events here that required wheelchair access we would have otherwise had to turn away. That would have been a shame because they are great events.
Thanks to Anthony Tusler, who is working on Coworking Sonoma, for bringing this important issue to light. We have started a thread on this subject in the Google Group and have set up a wiki page to start collecting resources. We will also be adding Accessibility to our core values.
For those of you who own spaces that are not currently accessible, let’s start chatting about how we can help you make them that way. :)