Europe is filled with beauty, from its culturally rich urban centers to its rural villages that capture history and tranquility. However as our society becomes more and more progress oriented, people are abandoning the rural gems and flocking to the cities in search of a more prosperous future. These beautiful abandoned and semi-abandoned villages are no longer valued by society and are being left to become obsolete.
At one point people flocked to the city because it was the only way to see progress and success, however with today’s technology and our ability bring our virtual networks almost anywhere, we can move back to these abandoned rural spaces and still be connected to the progressive world. We are now presented with the opportunity to use technology to revive these rural spots and protect their history and culture. What if we asked tech start ups and entrepreneurs who spend hours sitting in an urban office to come to these rural spots, connected them with the local community, and turned obsolete towns into entrepreneurial hubs on innovation and knowledge? Not only would the community benefit, but entrepreneurs would be surrounded by inspiration and the opportunity to collaborate with talented, like-minded people.
One of the first rural collaborative coworking space opened in the Basilicata region of Italy, called Casa Netural. The space is in Matera, a small town that is struggling from migration to the cities, but is not completely abandoned or isolated from urban life. This type of town is very common in Southern Europe and Casa Netural serves as an experiment to see if this model can revive the local community and strengthen the regional brand of Basilicata while benefiting its coworkers. The founders of Casa Netural aren’t looking for profit, but rather hope that their project will give people a reason to stay in Matera and transform it into a place of potential and innovation. The coworkers who come to Casa Netural live and work under the same roof, allowing them to collaborate and reinventing their relationship with their work. By bringing coworkers together to live, eat, work, and spend free time together, the lines between work and leisure are blurred providing relaxed communication and dinner table conversations that help foster inspiration and social innovation.
Pandora Hub, a movement driven by Diana Moret, is bringing this rural coworking model here to Spain. They are working to revive rural areas and recover abandoned villages to combine the tradition and history of these places with innovation and modernity. They want to return life and economic activity to these semi-abandoned villages while promoting a healthy, relaxed, and rejuvenating lifestyle for coworkers. Pandora Hub is searching for locations, abandoned or semi-abandoned, recovering the areas with permaculture, green building, sustainable practices, and organic farming, and inviting entrepreneurs to come and help turn these places into hubs of entrepreneurship, knowledge, and innovation to revive the local and global economy. They have found the perfect place to test their model, an idyllic village in Spain surrounded by water called Riba-roja d’Ebre. In addition to coliving, they want to create an escape for busy entrepreneurs looking for inspiration, advancement of ideas, or to grow their business. They are offering a five day “camp” called PANDORAHUB FUN! to combine work with fun by providing workshops, speakers, inspiration, and opportunities to collaborate and rejuvinate. This concept of a “coworking holiday” provides a space to create experiences and adventures in a slow environment, involving the local people and community to help build the future of the village, and fostering the exchange of knowledge, new concepts, and ideas and inspiration. Pandora Hub is on a great path and working towards something that would not have been possible just a few years ago. By utilizing today’s technology to bring people back to our beautiful and tranquil but abandoned villages, we can preserve history and culture while fostering advancement and progress