Living Spaces, Workspaces, and Territories: Focusing on Alternative Uses

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Albane Grandazzi is an Assistant Professor in organizational theory at Grenoble Ecole de Management and participates in the Territoires en Transition chair, where she coordinates the research project titled: "Living Spaces, Workspaces, and Territories," which allows for collective reflection on the evolution of space usage.

New organizational models for transition are one of the research axes conducted within the Territoires en Transition chair. Who are the actors involved ?

The project "Workspace, Living Spaces, and Territories" integrates, among others, one of the academic work axes of the Territoires en Transition (TeT) chair. This axis involves various chair partners: public actors - the City of Grenoble, Grenoble Alpes Métropole, the Isère Department - private actors, such as Korus Group, Algoé, and finally actors from the social and solidarity economy (such as the Léo Lagrange Federation, the French Mutualité of Isère, and La Turbine, as well as several associations in the Grenoble area). The aim of the chair is to create and share knowledge among these actors.

What is the subject and genesis of this project that you coordinate within the TeT chair ?

In this new project dedicated to work and living spaces, we are interested in the case of hybrid spaces whose uses have evolved and/or become mixed. This is why we use the term "sharing of infrastructures" to refer to our object of investigation. These new uses indeed bring unprecedented challenges in terms of economic and societal transition. This project is a continuation of the work started in the first cycle of the chair with the project "Territory Platforms for New Services," where we studied so-called alternative digital platforms, and also a new model of organization for nursing homes outside their walls.

What are the examples of ongoing mutations ?

Various team members have already worked on the issue of spaces from an organizational perspective, as well as the issue of integration at a local level. We rely on this common expertise to develop knowledge on this object still little explored in our scientific field: the sharing of infrastructures. For example, the provision of colleges by the Isère Department (classrooms, refectories, gymnasiums...) to associations outside school hours (Room on Demand) demonstrates these new uses that are different from the originally dedicated use of the built environment; they are independent of the main use and are differentiated over time. The study of these practices is pioneering.

How did you choose to work on this question of "sharing infrastructures" with the chair partners ?

In 2023, particularly with Korus Group, the Isère Department, and the French Mutualité of Isère, we conducted a series of four exploratory workshops developing certain issues related to the theme "Living Spaces - Workspaces" (for example: sharing a survey on work and living spaces during Covid-19, the question of employees' return to the office in a hybrid work context, alternative uses of office real estate). The four issues were different but allowed us to identify convergent and common interests among our partners. That's why in 2024, we chose to focus on the more specific question of sharing infrastructures.

What are your ongoing projects and their initial findings ?

In 2024, two research themes are being developed in collaboration with the chair. A scientific survey focusing on the "Bureaux du Cœur" association, which constitutes a case of totally alternative use of office real estate: "Indeed, it involves welcoming homeless people into the premises of association partner companies outside working hours. The association is already present in many cities in France." It should be noted that the material, logistical, and practical obstacles to the implementation of Bureaux du Cœur are not insurmountable: "the association already collaborates with a major French insurer through specific contract clauses. The most significant obstacle to these initiatives is primarily related to the new organizational model it requires," notes Albane Grandazzi.

In parallel with this survey, the team is working on a report for partners and the general public on the question of sharing infrastructures, informed by our field study with Bureaux du Cœur. This report will be based on data integrating a benchmarking study, conducted by GEM students as part of the Innoweek course (ideation topics proposed jointly with the TeT chair), supplemented by material produced in the workshops conducted by the chair, analysis of academic corpus, literature, and various testimonies gathered. "The ambition is to establish a mapping and a prospective vision of shared infrastructures to define our research scope. The stakes for organizations are, of course, a better understanding of future alternative uses."

How do partner companies get involved in this project, for example, Korus Group ?

Korus Group, located in La Murette in Isère, has been a patron of the GEM Foundation since December 2020 and joined the TeT chair in 2023 as a partner and patron. "Korus Group is an actor in the development of workspaces, living spaces, and collectives. Hence the need for a prospective and cross-disciplinary vision of the evolution of their profession. Korus Group already has expertise in consulting, aimed at developing an advisory approach on the transformation of these spaces. Hence the need to understand new uses and new expectations in terms of space evolution," emphasizes Albane Grandazzi. Office real estate is opening up to new uses, and the office of tomorrow can be thought of as a "platform," intersecting multiple actors and thus possible uses. For example, Korus Group was involved in the series of workshops in 2023 by hosting one of the workshops at its headquarters in La Murette. This allowed for synergy and concrete exchanges with its employees.


Pictures copyright  LUC BOEGLY 2018.

  • Chair
  • Territory
  • Work-study

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