A 2013 collaborative Regional Development Australia project between the Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay, Logan/Redland, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, examined opportunities and challenges for establishing a network of digital work hubs across South East Queensland.
The global megatrends influencing the future of work as highlighted by Deliotte & AMP Capital 2013 Its (almost!) all about me. Workplace 2030: Built for us, concludes that workplaces of the future will be designed to connect and facilitate as interconnected hubs providing the catalyst for diverse, vibrant work precincts. Presently however, Australian cities with their agglomeration of knowledge workers and innovative high value added enterprises, coupled with housing affordability and lifestyle factors, are diverging structurally, economically and culturally from regional locations with fewer opportunities for all.
The Digital Work Hub Project addresses wide policy issues to capture productivity and societal gains from offering workers the opportunity to work in, or much closer to, their region of residence as part of an Active Work Model. Digital Work Hubs are a network of highly curated collaborative workspaces that co-locate a number of activities including coworking (freelancers, entrepreneurs, start-ups) and teleworkers (public and private sector professionals) into vibrant urban clusters.
The Digital Work Hub Project, a catalyst for urban and regional revitalisation in SEQ
The project illustrated that when combined with lifestyle choices of knowledge workers, co-location of businesses in regional digital hubs will contribute significantly to regional agglomeration strategies aimed at reducing the economic divide between cities and regional centres.
The research provides data at the both the SEQ and individual regional scale for initial demand modelling for digital work hubs. The research examined commuter flows, skilled and knowledge intensive worker patterns, and the potential cost savings, job and capital creation, and health and wellbeing benefits such collaborative workspaces could provide. In addition the key components required for success were investigated including design, curation and connection to a wider urban and workplace policy platform.
In 2014 the second stage of the project commenced with an SEQ Activation Plan working across the public and private sector to establish the network of digital work hubs across SEQ.
Steven Burgess, Principal, MRCagney and Michael Stott, Director of Masterplanning, Ramboll, presented the Digital Work Hub Project paper at the Liveable Cities Conference in 2014.