Places of work

The availability of affordable and appropriate places of work is essential to London’s economy. This page looks at how we're supporting 'open workspaces' and industrial areas.

Creating open workspaces

Open workspaces have affordable rents, flexible terms and shared facilities. They allow entrepreneurs, creatives and small businesses to grow, network and flourish.

Examples include incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, artists’ workspaces and makerspaces. The £20m London Regeneration Fund will see more workspaces created. Following previous projects such as:

  • 639 in Tottenham provided local people with employment skills and helped them get started in business
  • Camden Collective provided free co-working space and pop-up retail in vacant shops and offices
  • Blackhorse Workshop refurbished a vacant warehouse into a public workshop with space for start-up makers

Alongside this, we published Creating Open Workspaces as a short guide for boroughs on supporting new workspaces both directly and indirectly.

The Mayor's Workspace Pledge

In December 2016 the Mayor pledged that, with support from London’s 33 local authorities, he would support workspace for start-ups, small businesses and artists in London. Find out more about the pledge and what we have achieved already.

Workspace providers

We have established a new Workspace Providers Board to advise the GLA on the availability, affordability, growth, development, and long term sustainability of London's workspaces.

The Open Workspace Providers Network brings together more than 300 workspace providers to share information, and opportunities for new spaces thay may be able to take on.

The London Open Workspaces Map is an interactive and updatable guide to open workspaces in London. It reveals their geographical distribution and provides information to potential users.

Workspace research

  • The Value of Workspace (December 2016) was undertaken independently by the Institure of Public Policy Research, IPPR. The report evidences the economic, social and cultural value of workspaces, as well as providing an impact framework. We are developing template questionnaires in a variety of formats that workspace providers can use to capture their value more consistently.  


  • Incubators, Accelerators and Co-working spaces (September 2014) was the first study of this emerging sector. The report identified 34 incubators, 16 accelerators, and 112 co-working spaces operating in London. Half of these spaces were found to have been established in the past two years, and most were located in inner London

  • Artists' Workspaces (September 2014) identified around 300 studio buildings catering for 11,500 artists. A crisis is approaching, as a 45% increase in rents over the past ten years means that a third of providers expect not to be able to renew their leases over the next 5 years. It was accompanied by ways of Creating Artists’ Workspace.

  • Co-Making (January 2015), a report prepared for the London Legacy Development Corporation, researched open access makerspaces and shared workshops. 

  • Accommodating Growth in Town Centres (July 2014) encourages boroughs to think about the importance of non-residential space while planning for new homes. It recognises the economic significance of existing Low Threshold Enterprise Spaces in and around town centres

Industrial areas

Industrial areas are home to a fifth of jobs outside central London in sectors such as manufacturing, construction, food preparation, distribution, printing, waste and recycling. They serve London’s growing population, and need to be close to their markets for sustainable and efficient operation.

We have carried out the following research on industrial areas:

  • The London Industrial Land Baseline (2015) report identifies the past, current, and potential future supply of industrial land; reviews trends in rental values; updates estimates of employment and businesses; and explores the potential impacts of a reduced supply of industrial land on London’s economy, employment, traffic congestion, business competitiveness - to inform the next London Plan.
  • The Industrial Intensification Primer (2017) summaries the main forms of industrial intensification and co-location with residential with case studies. This is the first step in further work on viability and deliverability.
  • A number of detailed industrial audits, such as the Park Royal Atlas (May 2014) to provide a new level of understanding about London's largest industrial area, which provides Londoners with everything from bread and fruit juice to ambulance cars. A full list of the audits conducted by the GLA and other partners is available here.
  • Business Organisation in Industrial Areas (February 2015) explores various forms of organisation amongst businesses in different industrial areas; how they have been established, their management and organisation, sources of funding; and actions taken to address issues such as safety and security, cleanliness, and infrastructure.

The Industrial Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) Group meets quarterly. It is made up of 7 BIDs in industrial areas in London, other business organisations and industrial experts.

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