Not Only a Workplace. Reshaping Creative Work and Urban Space


  • Tanja Sihvonen University of Turku
  • Boukje Cnossen



Amsterdam, creativity, work, engagement, ecosystem, loose space, Thirdspace.


This research article examines the intersection of two current topics: the ongoing flexibilisation of creative work on the one hand, and the emergence of urban temporary working landscapes on the other. Their interrelatedness is inspected through a case study of one particular creative hub, the former Volkskrant building in Amsterdam, and through analysing its transformation into a ‘creative’ hotel. Based on intensive qualitative fieldwork in 2012 and 2013, we argue that the importance of such temporary hubs lies beyond the fact that these places provide professionals in the creative industries with desk space. By mobilising the concept of engagement, we draw parallels between the ways in which creative urban professionals shape the physical spaces they use, and the ways digital media users appropriate virtual spaces. We argue that an understanding of the changing practices of creative workers might benefit from a revisiting of the concepts ‘loose space’ and ‘Thirdspace’, as these notions help challenge the false dichotomy between ‘real’ and ‘imagined’ space. We believe that this continuous re-imagining and repurposing of space while working in it, together with the possibility of actual, physical modification as afforded by the particular countercultural heritage of Amsterdam, reveals the creative potentialities of these flexible work practices.




How to Cite

Sihvonen, T., & Cnossen, B. (2015). Not Only a Workplace. Reshaping Creative Work and Urban Space. Observatorio (OBS*).