Now that the research archive is started and the matlab site license seems to be a done deal, it is time to think about the next thing that I think UAB needs. I think UAB needs a coworking space. Coworking spaces are large rooms with big tables and comfy chairs office like spaces where multiple individuals can work at the same time. Individuals or small groups may be working independently in the same space, but they still have the opportunity to interact. You do not need a reservation and reservations are not allowed, first come, first serve for the available space. The coworking space provides internet access, coffee, and other conveniences, but it is not a library, coffee shop, or break room. Conversations are not discouraged (like a coffee shop or break room, but unlike a library), but the atmosphere is professional and work oriented (like a library).
The benefits of coworking spaces are increased productivity (you are working in ‘glass house’ so there is a disincentive to goof off) and the opportunity for serendipitous collaboration and creative stimulation. There is also increased communication; people are not walled off. If you need private undistracted time to work, you can always retreat to your office or the library.
Just to clarify, when I say library, I mean the tables in the main areas. The LHL chill room might actually make a good coworking space. However there are not enough good work tables and the location is a little depressing (it needs windows!).
I think the best location for a UAB coworking space would be a large unused floor at the top of a library. Not much renovation would be needed, there would be plenty of natural light, and the atmosphere would be the right mix of ‘loft and library’.
I am not sure if such a space exists at UAB, but if it did, it would be perfect.
In the meantime, I will be looking for an alternative location.