Popup Work Spaces

Popup workspaces provide temporary, outdoor workspaces with amenities (electricity, Wi-Fi, and seating) as gathering spaces centered on work.

Benefits & Problems Addressed

Encourage activity: Open spaces can enliven otherwise unused or underused spaces along a sidewalk or in a plaza.

Encourage open government: Hosting several government offices in an open space facilitates conversations and processes typically done office by office.

Enliven meetings: The open space is an alternative to closed meeting in offices which can spur creativity.

Tips & Techniques

Getting Started: Try a simple format first with tables, chairs, portable office supplies and signage. Convene two or more offices that would take advantage of the format as a starter. A simple "Take Your Meeting Outside" campaign can help spread the word. Choose a location that is near a density of workers, visible, and somewhat protected (especially if you don't have a tent or structure). 

Larger Scale: Work with architectural and building partners who can build a sturdier, attractive structure. Secure any permits for a location and choose a time of year that is not extreme heat, cold or rain.  Locate in an area with public restrooms. Choose work projects where having the information on display to the public is beneficial for outreach or feedback. Combine with public arts as an outdoor gallery,

Semi-Outdoor: Open up vacant, first floor retail/commercial to provide temporary use.

Government Uses: Local governments can take advantage of outdoor work space for: (1) public engagement for a particular project, planning effort or general participatory programming; (2) gather multiple offices around a table for processes that typically occur sequentially, for example plan review comments (make sure the information shared is public and not sensitive); {3} Open brownbags and Lunch & Learns to the public.

Hot Buttons: Outdoor, open office spaces are not suitable for people or material that must remain private.


Outbox: Montgomery County, MD, US

Image: Downtown Silver Spring, Montgomery County MD US