A coworking space in Guatemala City is part of a larger initiative that’s been bringin back to life a once vibrant neighborhood in the city.
Founded in 2013, Chamba has established itself as a key member of the community of La Zona 4 in Guatemala City.
Before we move forward, let us explain the name ‘Chamba’ and what later in the article we refer to as ‘los Chamberos’. In Guatemala, ‘chamba’ is slang for work, meaning that ‘Los Chamberos’ are workers. This coworking space found a way in which to describe and associate its space as a place to work, while at the same time doing so in a way that appeals to young adults and workers.
We spoke with Maria Rodriguez, co-Founder of Chamba, on how coworking spaces help improve a city and how Chamba has been a part of this change in its neighborhood.
How do you believe coworking spaces help the environment and traffic?
Because coworking spaces gather a large group of people in a single space, they are able to reduce costs of various basic services. Additionally, coworking spaces tend to be strategically located in a city or neighborhood, making it easy for individuals to reach them by bicycle, bus, or by walking.
In Guatemala, it’s usually young adults that are interested in and seek these types of spaces. We’ve also noticed how a large majority are actively environmentally friendly, to the point where they have created and implemented eco-friendly initiatives within our space, like using eco-friendly water filters (made out of clay, sawdust, or colloidal silver) and recycling.
How do coworking spaces help their surrounding communities and contribute to urbanism?
First and foremost, a coworking space helps drive community success and growth by providing it with tools and opportunities that can lead to economic development. They do so because the coworking concept goes beyond just providing a space; coworking spaces provide new businesses and startups with events and activities that help guide them towards personal and professional goals.
They also break paradigms and rigid concepts of what an office space should be and the services that it can provide. Coworking spaces build and nurture communities, which leads to individuals taking back and reviving a city. This is how and why coworking spaces have become a vital part of many cities.
The way we see it, coworking spaces create a synergy between different disciplines and lines of work. In our experience, we’ve seen how this synergy has encouraged relationships that are closely tied to sharing and passing knowledge and not just business contacts. This is what creates and builds our community, and having a strong community in our space has meant that we (Los Chamberos) have been able to foster the mentality of taking care and respecting not only our space, but also our surrounding community.
What are some of the changes you’ve seen in La Zona 4 and its community since Chamba opened its doors?
Before diving into anything else, it’s important that we mention that Chamba isn’t an isolated initiative. We’re actually a part of a larger strategy and movement that has been able to revitalize the neighborhood. Chamba’s role has been to offer a space where people can work in a friendly and cosmopolitan environment, which has attracted a group of people that are interested in creating a community and that have also found ways to jump on board and actively contribute to the zone’s project.
We’ve seen more than just change in the area; we’ve been able to foster a reciprocal relationship between our space and the surrounding community.
*Image grabbed from Chamba’s Facebook Page