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Our Neighborhood Coworking Spaces Are Helping the City

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Some people are over the whole commuting to work from home thing. But they're also done with working from home all the time. And even from a coffee shop, the so-called third space. What's missing from all of these places?

Community, apparently. Colleagues may not be working on the same kinds of problems as you, and your home may not have anyone else working on something. Coworking spaces, on the other hand, house a collection of professionals who are passionate or otherwise committed to what they do.

Many of these spaces have coffee, beer, networking events, and camaraderie built into the usage fee for a desk. They're great resources, if you can find them. Which is why Enerspace Coworking took it upon themselves to map the coworking spaces in the city.

They defined a coworking space as a professionally managed, dedicated space with a website that is not just a business center (as in a couple computers that you would find in a hotel).

Which neighborhoods came in on top? Not surprisingly, the Loop came in with 10 locations in which to set up shop, including three separate addresses for Level Office. River North, River West, West Town, Wicker Park, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Logan Square, Ravenswood, Uptown, Pilsen, and the Gold Coast each had a couple to offer as well. And the West Loop had eight. Now all you'll have to do is pick the one that's most favorable to you.

Here's a full version of the map, which lists 32 locations in all.

And, it's not just helpful for individuals; ultimately, these locations are cradles for future economic good news. Coworking spaces become incubators for fledgling firms to grow into companies that will grow in size and eventually rent office space of their own. This feeds into the quest for Chicago to become a "Silicon Prairie" to challenge Silicon Valley's status as a hub for tech. JLL's Technology Office Outlook report shoes that firms have attracted more than $412 million in venture capital fundings, and provided 104,869 jobs last year. GlobeSt reports the perspective from Julia Georgules, a JLL vice president and director of US Office Research. "Nationwide, high tech firms are also one of the few office users that are expanding." In Chicago, this is a good thing, because the commercial real estate market balanced its expanding tech sector with contracting firms in more traditional industries like law.

· The Rise of Coworking [HuffPo]
· Chicago Tech Market Matures [Globe St]
· All coworking space coverage [Curbed Chicago]