The Sharing Economy: Time Space as the Uber of Your Library
If I look through my Facebook feed, and some of the most trending blogs and magazines, it is clear that among hottest topics, like Bitcoin and France becoming the World Cup champion, the Sharing Economy is on the top of the list.
In a few words, the sharing economy allows to distribute abundant resources over large groups of people with the use of online platforms, apps, and state-of-art technologies. Although, there are still arguments whether the biggest companies who have adapted sharing economy principles go around legislation and taxes, it is needless to say that the sharing economy is a large step away from consumerism and over-materialistic society. The shift is clear and we are witnessing it ourselves these days.
The sharing economy is especially associated with our Millennial Generation. Compared to our parents, we prefer not to own things or settle down for longer time. We share apartments with roommates and choose public transport over owning cars. On our phones, you can find multiple “sharing economy apps”: Swapfiets and Uber to go around town, Ticketswap to buy tickets for concerts, Uber Eats for food delivery, and of course, Airbnb, Couchsurfing and Blablacar to travel without going for all-inclusive package trips.
There are plenty of apps and progressive technologies that can be used on the go while traveling and going out, but not so many technologies meant for structuring usual routine under conditions of scarcity.
Let’s take a look at Utrecht – an average young student town in the middle of the Netherlands - one of the most progressive countries in the world. There are around 70.000 students in Utrecht, and only around 6.000 study spots in university facilities. Without even getting into housing situation, the bottom line is – the space is scarce.
We, four co-founders of Time Space, had studied and lived in Utrecht for some years. Looking at the scarcity of space, we started thinking: “Are there just too many people in Utrecht or spaces are simply underutilized?”
Our thought process was guided in the right direction when we’d met Ronal van den Hoff – the owner of one of the most progressive co-working companies and the founding father of Society 3.0. In Seats2Meet, a fast-emerging co-working all over the world, the value is created out of sharing of social capital between the people in the network. So, if professionals, entrepreneurs, and freelancers could already find their solace in progressive co-working spots, why couldn’t we create something similar for students?
And we did. Time Space was opened in September 2017 and became the first co-studying space in the Netherlands. We are a social enterprise that creates spaces for students by utilizing the spare capacity of the co-working spaces as study spaces. Our first location is situated in the center of Utrecht on the premises of Seats2Meet, at the Social Impact Factory, where we provide excellent study spaces with complementary coffee, meeting rooms and a motivating atmosphere. Time Space is not a physical location, it’s a concept with a philosophy behind it.
Co-working companies and offices are usually open from 9 until 6 on weekdays and are closed on weekends, which goes well in line with a professional daily routine. Students, on the other hand, tend to have a slightly more hectic schedule. They have classes in the morning, and the rest of the time is dedicated to self-study. Especially intense study periods fall on pre-exam seasons when weekends and night are as busy as the weekend. By using various facilities of co-working centers and offices we can manage to adjust to the demand by utilizing otherwise not used office spaces.
Of course, as a business, you’re nothing without a user-friendly online platform and a fancy app. Therefore, an online booking system of Seats2Meet is now available for Time Space visitors to get guaranteed study spaces and get the gratification of confirming it in advance. On top of that, one of the most progressive apps – Serendipity Machine is also available for our students. If Time Space is Uber of your Library, Serendipity Machine is Tinder of your Social Capital. But more about that in the next article ;)