Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 32, Issue 2, 2022

Two Problems of Digitilization—Virtual Negotiations and 4th Space

Nick Clifton, Fiona Carroll, Richard Wheeler
Pages 61-82

Proximity, Innovation, Collaboration; Developing the 4th “Extended Reality” Space

The digital “4th Space” is a development of Oldenburg’s delineation of the 1st (home), 2nd place (work) and 3rd (social) places. Coworking spaces are presented as an example of space blurring within the knowledge economy, where digitalization, knowledge flows, flexibility and innovation play out at the micro level. Post-pandemic, they are likely to play a greater role as remote working remains a permanent feature. But how should we reassess their role in the advent of the 4th space, and what might the 4th space mean for how the role of proximity itself is (re)conceptualized in relation to collaboration and innovation? To do so, providing examples, we suggest the journey from the telephone to extended reality (XR) video conferencing technologies as a means to understand the evolution of the 4th space. We discuss (XR) spaces and the opportunities to afford proximity and collaboration, thus providing an agenda for further research.