|Non-metropolitan, peri-urban or peripheral regions across Europe have the potential to reverse perceived disadvantages of geographical, social or economic isolation through benefitting from the opportunities offered by new digital technologies and the ‘frontier less’ digital economy. With continuing local, national and European initiatives to ensure universal availability of high-speed broadband and develop new business models which take account of the wider social, economic and environmental potential of digital services and infrastructure, there is a need to build a European network of ‘Third Places’ or multifunctional common spaces/buildings which we have named in French, ‘Relais des Possibles’ or ‘hospitality relay, pension for innovation….
These ‘Relays” give citizens, communities and knowledge based workers a flexible space that provides high level ICT infrastructure and capabilities, allowing for interaction and collaboration. They operate in a very flexible way, with opportunities for short term and shared use and provide a variety of working spaces ranging from flexible desk, office and meeting spaces to shared facilities and informal social spaces.
By providing an environment to facilitate on and offline collaboration between citizens, communities, enterprises and entrepreneurs through ‘co-working’, the Relays are not simply physical spaces but should be understood as ‘human spaces’ which facilitate collaboration between individuals and organizations. Creating local networks, whilst connecting them to global communities. The physical and virtual spaces become catalysts, generators, incubators and transmitters of innovation, harnessing the potential of digital cooperation.
These centers complement the range of existing public and private locations that exist throughout Europe, adding an additional dimension to the emergence of the collaborative economy, creating spaces that reinforce the dynamics of local economies, supporting a more sustainable and human digital culture which is part of and interacts with the wider global economy and communities across the globe
Aims and participants
|Our aim is to develop an open network of organisations which adhere to the principals and strategies of ‘Relais des Possibles’, who are willing to contribute to the dynamics of the network and who are also key players and contributors to their local economies.
In France a ‘Relais des Possibles’ is currently being created around the in the Département or county of the ‘Seine-et-Marne’ focused which will consist of around 12 ‘Third Places’ or ‘Relays’ by the end of the year centred on the ‘Living Lab’ Brie ‘Nov and the cooperative ‘Nomade Office ’ which both manages and develops these spaces. Brie’Nov has itself developed strong partner with the Association of French Rural Mayors, SNCF Développement (National Rail Company) ; The National Union of Business Incubators ; The ‘Revesdiab’ network of Medical Doctors and Nurses, local authorities and business networks such as CGPME (National Federation of SME’s) with whom it works on the development, management and operation of the ‘Relais’ and the creation of local community, public and business services.
Our current focus is on the creation of two categories of ‘Relais’ : Firstly those situated in Railway Stations where unused building space is available and although still in regular passenger use lack other actvities which bring social and economic vitality to the location and secondly ‘Relais’ in other locations, principally involving change of use and modification of working space.