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Project information

Project team

Thilo Lang, Franziska Görmar, Yue Mao, Danai Liodaki


Germany: Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space, State Association of Culture and Creative Industries Saxony e.V

Austria: Impact Hub GmbH, Otelo eGen

Italy: Politecnico di Milano

France: Paris School of Business

Greece: Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, European Creative Hubs Network Association

Duration of project

01/2021 – 12/2024

Funded by

Horizon 2020 - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks (ITN)

Further information

Dr. Thilo Lang
Tel.: +49 341 600 55-159

Further information

Exploring the impacts of collaborative workspaces in rural and peripheral areas in the EU – CORAL

CORAL aims to unpack the latent dynamics and impacts of collaborative workspaces (CWS) in rural and peripheral areas and integrate them as development tools in local and regional policies to open up new potentials for socio-economic development.

Whereas we have observed the rapid rise of CWS in urban agglomerations the past 15 years, there is now a gradual rise of CWS in rural and peripheral areas too. However, there is no clear evidence about their functions, impacts and the ways that policymaking should promote the rural CWS wave and assist in linking the development of CWS with processes of local socio-economic development. In fact, that policy link is much needed for those disadvantaged places (places that don’t matter), as only a few EU policies (e.g. Interreg) have assisted the development of CWS in peripheral and rural areas. At the same time, there is an urgent need for qualified professionals in academia and the policy arena, in order to effectively promote CWS in the lagging parts of the EU and by that, open up new development futures.

CORAL aims to provide specialized and tailor-made training to 15 young researchers to better understand and support the development processes of CWS in rural and peripheral areas, their wider impacts at the local and regional level, as well as at the level of the individual worker and the enterprise.

The research consists of 15 projects; the following two projects will be hosted by the IfL:

  • (Re-)Inventing the Rurban: Progressive and alternative spaces of work in peripheral communities in Central and Eastern Europe.
    The focus will lie on imaginations and visions of new and alternative CWS in rural, peripheral, structurally weak and remote areas. It challenges dominant representations of the urban and suggests alternative visions for new workspaces from the perspective of peripheral places, which could be seen as linked to new ‘rurban’ lifestyles. This ESR-project will be based on a comparative case study methodology on municipality level and compare two cases in Germany and in Latvia through a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods.
  • New work spaces in peripheral communities - factors of success and policy implications,
    with the main objective of exploring factors and conditions of success through the impact of new CWS initiatives in remote locations. The focus is on implemented projects, their advocates and their impact on the local socio-economic environment. Finally, the ESR project will contribute to the development of a set of policy conditions and recommendations that could favour the further expansion and promotion of CWS in the periphery.

Through different means of dissemination and exploitation such as knowledge exchange days, CORAL schools and a digital platform, the impacts of CORAL aim to reach a wider audience ranging from public policymakers to private stakeholders and CWS communities across the EU.


Academic publications:

Görmar, Franziska (2022): Kollaborative Arbeitsorte in ländlichen Räumen – Charakteristika und Potenziale für die Regionalentwicklung. In: Greinke, Lena; Grabski-Kieron, Ulrike; Mose, Ingo; Reichert-Schick, Anja; Steinführer, Annett: Krise als Chance? Auswirkungen der COVID-19-Pandemie auf ländliche Räume. Münster: LIT-Verlag. S. 147–163

Görmar, Franziska (2021): Collaborative workspaces in small towns and rural areas. The COVID-19 crisis as driver of new work models and an opportunity for sustainable regional development? Working Paper, freely available on ResearchGate

Media articles:

Blog Deutsche Glasfaser, 19 January 2022:
Forschungsprojekt CORAL: Erfolgsfaktoren für Coworking und Co. in Europa