Creative hubs

Creative hubs

Shared spaces the new work option

Working in a shared, collaborative space is becoming increasingly popular with people seeking flexible working arrangements. The City has been across the trend since 2012 when we launched our Creative Spaces program to provide affordable space for Sydney's artists and creative workers.

In just 5 years, the concept has really taken off in Australia, which now has the highest growth of co-working spaces per capita of any country.

Co-working is most popular among entrepreneurs, start-ups, small business owners and freelancers who need flexible short or long-term work space offering the added bonus of continuous networking with like-minded peers.

Australia's first shared workspaces such as Sydney's Desk X, opened around 2009. According to research, their number soared a whopping 555% in the 2 years ending September 2012 and by early 2013 there were 62 co-working and collaborative workspaces nationwide.

Since then more co-working spaces have opened, but rarely enough to keep up with spiralling demand. Many are now at capacity and are operating wait lists only.

Some leading Australian corporate players are now allowing their employees to work from collaborative work environments. Telstra, Optus, News Corp and PwC among others, have already invested in major sponsorships of these spaces.

And in late May developer Lend Lease will open The Porter – a 700 square metre ground floor space in O'Connell Street in the city. It will be the first shared workspace for upmarket corporate tenants, rather than individuals and micro-businesses. 

City Business logo

We are a recognised leader in promoting co-working in the Sydney area. Through our various creative spaces programs we help artists and creative industry workers access an affordable workspace in suitable City-owned buildings.  

Hub Sydney, an innovative international co-working community with 35 chapters worldwide, which opened on level 2 of 101-111 William Street, is this month celebrating its first birthday. 

"Hub simply creates spaces where people can meet and William Street is the ideal location," Hub's community catalyst, Seth Lawrence says.

"It’s central, in an up-and coming area of entrepreneurship and creativity. In fact, we have been so successful since we started here last year that we are expanding our operation to level 1, which opened this week," he says.

We’re excited to have another co-working space join the stable at 66 Oxford Street – EngineRoom, a company with a specific focus on people working in hardware, electronics and prototyping makers. 

Creative spaces

Creative Spaces is a free website that matches property owners with creatives looking for a space.

The site helps artists and creative enterprises find a suitable venue or studio to develop, exhibit or perform their work and provides a platform for agents and owners to advertise their properties and find tenants.

On the site you will find artist and photography studios, gallery and exhibition spaces, co-working areas and hot desks, rehearsal and performance rooms, pop-up shops, rooftops, cinemas, theatres and other non-traditional properties.

You can also list your unused properties on the site.

It’s free to join and you can search by area, or type of space and read all about how creative spaces around the City have been used by others.

Oxford Street revitalisation

To ensure our much loved and renowned strip continues to thrive, we have been offering a range of office and retail spaces on Oxford Street to artists and creative practitioners.

In 2011, we invited artists, creatives and community organisations to submit an expression of interest to occupy a number of underutilised City-owned properties on lower Oxford Street. We received an overwhelming response and following a competitive selection process, 16 properties were activated with a mix of commercial and non-profit creative organisations working in design, film, contemporary music, transmedia, screen writing and more.

There are now 18 office and retail spaces and the transformation has been swift. Designers, architects, contemporary performers, animators, online video producers, architects, artists, their staff and customers are breathing new life into the precinct.

William Street creative hub

We’re working to foster a creative community in 2 City-owned properties in William Street. Commercial and creative tenants are now moving into a 3-storey warehouse-style office space and 6 artist live and work studios.

Fresh faces

In November 2012, we called for organisations and enterprises looking to operate a creative incubator or co-share space across 500 square metres of office space. The successful applicant, Lochbuild, is now establishing a creative space comprising several small to medium sized creative enterprises and artists including Andrew Donaldson Architecture and Design, Romance Was Born, *asterix, Aileen Sage Architects, Op Jam and Archrival.

Short-term creative space register

We own a number of properties, including retail and office space, across the inner-city area. From time to time these properties are empty for short periods between commercial tenancies or when repairs or upgrades are required to the buildings.

In order to make sure these spaces aren’t sitting empty and in recognition of some of the challenges facing creative projects in finding affordable, temporary inner-city spaces, we called out to anyone with a unique, innovative idea or creative project interested in taking up temporary residency.

We’ve selected 25 projects, which have been placed on a short term creative retail and space register for 24 months. When an appropriate space becomes available, the projects will be called on to make use of the property on a 1, 3, 6 or 12 month basis – it could be anywhere in our area, in any type of building and generally with only a few weeks’ notice!

The first project from the register – an artist studio, gallery and retail space run by Dulwich Hill collective Westsyde Connection – has already opened at 58 Oxford Street.

Stills Gallery is currently occupying the windows of 2 showrooms at 101-111 William Street with a pop-up photographic gallery, while some building works take place.

Tractor Studio is a multi-user creative space that has set up shop in the spot at 66 Oxford Street, providing design education, industry talks and housing exhibitions.

Further up the strip at 122 Oxford Street, is Maaike Furniture Resurrection, operating an ‘open studio’ for up-cycling furniture as well as refurbishing salvaged, secondhand and pre-loved items.


Creative Spaces Sydney 2030: Oxford StreetWestsyde Connection Stills Gallery Tractor Design Studio Maaike


City of Sydney
02 9265 9333

Last updated: Tuesday, 20 August 2013