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Will cowork spaces help reinvent Melbourne’s suburban high streets?

London-based management consultants LEK have forecasts that moves to large-scale remote working across the globe is expected to generate large demands for suburban-based flexible work spaces.

Increasingly, businesses are prioritising more flexible leases over longer-term tenancy agreements, and they are seeking out spaces close to where their employees live. Employers and workers alike are seeking office spaces that are co-located with amenities like child care, supermarkets, gyms cafes and medical services.

Sometimes these amenities will be found in suburban business parks be increasingly it will be sites within and on the edges of local high streets that become the preferred locations for co-work spaces according to this LEK report.

As our cities continue to urbanise, activities that were formerly dispersed will aggregate and become more dense – small precincts and even individual buildings will accommodate multiple mutually- supportive uses as illustrated by this ‘future work environment’ diagram from the LEK report.

LEK speculate that offices offering a range of designs and environments will begin to populate local high streets, and for many workers this will result in an “almost zero” commute time.

Is this the likely future for Melbourne’s activity centres? Can our strip centres be reinvented as places of work and higher density highs streets that function as a hub for businesses and residents alike ?

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