Don't Fence Me In


I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can't look at hovels and I can't stand fences
Don't fence me in.

Los Angeles is a city of re-invention and of hyphenates...Our resumes can be compared to layers upon layers of paint that is never allowed to dry, because we are constantly changing the perception of who we are.

Our definition of what employment is about re-invention as well, we are historically a nomadic work force and because of this our freelance workforce is the highest in the country, 36-38%, almost 20% higher than the rest of the country. We are nomads that travel from village to village selling our wares and services, client to client with a laptop in tow.

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"LA is a city of intense nodes around the city with no center"
- Jerome Chang. founder of BLANKSPACES

One company has taken this mindset and is building workspaces that fill the needs of the nomadic tribe. Jerome Chang, an architect who holds a Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University and a Master of Engineering and Bachelors of Science degrees from Cornell University created BLANKSPACES to fill such a need. Situated between the hubs of Los Angeles on the Miracle Mile of Wilshire Blvd, BLANKSPACES is built within the interstitial spaces, able to fill the gaps in between by offering a communal work space.

"It's about the collaborative nature, it's about collaborative working" - Jerome Chang

Jerome's idea behind BLANKSPACES is to intensify the spaces between the nodes, to connect the hubs within Los Angeles by creating workspaces for people to work, collaborate and interact. BLANKSPACES is also the blank canvas that can be used to create one's own interim work space. In the new economy the idea of full time employment has moved towards working on a series of projects as a subcontractor, in Los Angeles we are more accustomed to this form of employment than most of the country, which is why BLANKSPACES does not have to explain it's purpose, we get it.

"Architects are physical Anthropologists; Anthropologists can study culture and shape culture, but they don't have the tools to physically manifest that, Architects do. Architects can get out into the trenches and build that community"
- Jerome Chang

BLANKSPACES offers a workspace and you pay for only the time you are there. They provide you with a phone, internet access, and a desk up to a private office and conference rooms. An important benefit is the interaction with others, expanding a network and the feeling of community. From the individual to the corporation that needs only a temporary workspace, BLANKSPACES is flexible enough to cater to any need. For instance a non-profit can get 10 hours per week starting at $200 a month, far less than what you would pay for office space. Another consideration is that sustainable development requires us to rethink our use of fossil fuels, if we can cut down the distance for workers to drive to work, we save time and money while boosting productivity and well being for the worker. A company can use temporary hubs for short term projects that require a central meeting point and is away from any distractions.

"Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above,
Don't fence me in.
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love,
Don't fence me in.
- lyrics from "Don't Fence Me In" by Cole Porter,
based on a poem by Robert Fletcher

Is this the future of the workspace? Considering the economy and the unemployment rate hitting a high of 7%, most likely. We will all be singular stars circling the sky, coming in and out of each other's orbits, collaborating when necessary. And where will we commune? At the closest hub possible.

Image: Jerome Chang / Photo Illustration: Ophelia Chong

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