Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cohabitat resonates with ABetterShreveport

At last night's ABS meeting Matthew Linn reported that Cohabitat's first "Jelly" was well-recieved by the 30 people who attended last Saturday morning. Indeed, at the same meeting Carolyn Manning happened to mention that she plans on using their group space for her seminars. Last week April Dahm and Loren Demerath met with Mark Hand, John Grindley, Stuart Clason, and Blake Burris to hear the "Cohabitat" concept. If you want to know what it's all about, and how it can make Shreveport better, read on.

Cohabitat in Shreveport will be a non-profit organization, interested in giving people a place to work with similarly trained or interested others. Typically, shared workspaces like cohabitat have been used by creative professionals looking for a place to get work done with the focus that an office provides outside their own homes. These people are also looking for the kind of community that offices often provide, and out of which relationships and collaborative efforts can emerge. They are often relaxed atmospheres. Stuart said, "I wanted to work at a place where I could bring my dog and where there was a kegerator." Beyond the possibility of beer (hey, don't knock Stuart's dream, Charles Dickens did a lot of his writing while sipping pints at the pub!) and beyond the possibilities offered simply by working alongside others who have might have complementary skills, shared workspaces facilitate collaboration by hosting "jellies," where folks have the chance to present their work and ask for feedback or advice.

Why would we care about this? Especially those of us who aren't looking for a place to use our laptops and cell phones? Because Sociological research tends to indicate that increased mobility (as in an open plan of shared work space in contrast to rooms of rented office suites) yields greater connectivity (as in collaborative work vs. working alone at home), which in turn leads to greater productivity and economic opportunities. Sounds like Cohabitat's success would lead to a better Shreveport. We're rooting for you Cohab!

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