Kitchen Squatters? Really?

Seattle Magazine ran a long story about what they called "Kitchen Squatters" this month. In what I would take to be an attempt at wit, Karen Johnson, the article's author repeats this term "Kitchen Squatters".  If I said nothing else about it, you might think I was talking about people who adversely possess another's kitchen.  Squatting, a topic I am familiar from my undergraduate studies that focused on the subject, usually refers to an individual or individuals who adversely possess (that is without express permission, and often conspicuously) another person's property.  They do not have permission and they do not pay rent.

By comparison the people Johnson is writing about have express permission, often leases, and pay rent (either in money or trade) for the use of the kitchens referred to in the article.  In fact, on of the kitchens featured in the article is run explicitly as a kitchen for hire. 

The subjects of Johnson's article are not squatters.  They are renters.  That doesn't make the trend any less interesting.  It is a fascinating trend, and Johnson would have done a better service for her magazine and readers had she compared the trend, at least in passing, to the upsurge in "coworking" or shared offices with community.  Office Nomads, on Capitol Hill is a pioneer, not just in Seattle, but also globally, as a three year old coworking space where people rent desks, and get so much more.

The Ballard Kitchen seems more like a culinary coworking space than anything else.  And the restaurants that are lending out (or renting out) their kitchens during off hours to culinary entrepreneurs are like the businesses who are renting extra desks to startups, another trend in Seattle.