[FoRK] LA Traffic - solution?

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at jarbox.org
Sat Sep 1 15:52:14 PDT 2012

On Sep 1, 2012, at 10:17 AM, "Stephen D. Williams" <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
> On 9/1/12 8:54 AM, J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
>> The key feature seems to be that you have a critical density of people who will use them and can get to them without driving, which limits their distribution in practice.  Co-working spaces tend to work when they are located among clusters of certain types of similar professionals, not just a random group of people who happen to live near each other. Putting a co-working space way out in the 'burbs is not that useful because the density is too low.
> I was alluding to the fact that, besides the fact that the idea hasn't really caught on yet, existing co-work spaces are not varied or complete enough or competitive (inexpensive, etc.) enough for widespread use.  Additionally, none of them have any kind of teleoperation capabilities.

What, specifically, is deficient about existing co-working spaces? And how inexpensive do you think they ought to be? The facilities and infrastructure still have to be paid for. Also, what do you mean by "teleoperation capabilities"?

> My house in Northern Virginia, where I lived for 13 years, is in the middle of an unincorporated area that I estimated had at least 40-80K people within a radius of 6 miles.  Those neighborhoods, "in the town of Ashburn" (which isn't much more than a few zip codes and HOAs), are 25-50 miles from the bulk of DC area jobs.  And there are many more such population zones in DC, all fighting through a small number of zone connection points (few highways, fewer bridges, very sparse Metro trains).  Even if people had to drive 3 miles, broad coworking would save millions of hours of commute time.

You've constructed an overly simplistic view of the benefits and costs to the point where the scenario you posit here is almost certainly broken. A viable co-working solution of the type you are suggesting for many organizations would exceed the cost of either setting up a satellite office or just having everyone commute.  

Co-working can solve many problems but I think you underestimate the high cost and low utility of doing it out in most commuter suburbs.  Effective co-working spaces tend to be tailored to very specific types of businesses and are co-located with natural concentrations of the type of person to which they are catering. If you happen to live in a suburb that meets that criteria then it might work but this does not describe the vast majority of suburbs.

> Use as project extension space makes sense too, although companies like Google do that semi-permanently and in bulk, so they just lock up everything in an area (60-70% of Mountain View...).

Unlike the Bay Area and many other areas, Seattle is not averse to new, high-density construction or well-mixed zoning.  It makes it easier to locate the spaces where they actually make sense rather than where the city planners will allow them to be located.

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