Chen Gao
Research Associate | Dynamics of Economic Spaces

Chen Gao joined the IRS in September 2021 as an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) in the EU-funded Marie Sklodowska Curie Innovative Training Network “CORAL”, which explores the role of collaborative workspaces in rural areas. Chen graduated from Delft University of Technology with a Master’s degree in Urbanism in 2021. His experiences range from regional planning to local architecture practice. As a researcher, Chen is interested in the socio-spatial dimensions of planning and critical spatial practices in both Europe and the Global South. Being a key member of a coworking space for one and half years as a student piqued his interest in the roles collaborative workspaces play in their socio-economic environments. Within the CORAL network, Chen pursues a PhD project on collaborative workspaces and their place in local entrepreneurial ecosystems.


Ongoing Third-party Funded Projects

CORAL aims to unpack the latent dynamics and impacts of collaborative workspaces (hereafter CWS, such as coworking spaces, fablabs, creative hubs etc.) in rural and peripheral areas and integrate them as development tools in local and regional policies to open up new potentials for socio-economic development. Whereas we have observed the rapid rise of CWS in urban agglomerations in the past 15 years, there is now a gradual rise of CWS in rural and peripheral areas too. The CORAL project will offer specialised and tailor-made training to 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESR: PhD candidates), helping them to better understand and support the development processes of CWSin rural and peripheral areas and their wider impacts at the local and regional level as well as at the level of the individual worker and the enterprise. more info

Interview with Early Stage Researchers Federica Ammaturo and Chen Gao on the CORAL Innovative Training Network’s Introductory Event

In September 2021, the members of the EU-funded Marie Sklodowska Curie Innovative Training Network (2021-2024) “CORAL ” met online for their one-week Introductory Event. For the first time, all 15 newly recruited Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) employed by the network’s nine partner organisations were able to meet and exchange. At the IRS and supervised by Suntje Schmidt, Federica Ammaturo and Chen Gao are currently starting their research on the roles of rural collaborative workspaces in regional development and in entrepreneurial ecosystems respectively. Here, they share their impressions of the event and their experiences of starting work in an EU-network – and in almost-rural Erkner, where the IRS is located. more info