Harold has an interesting post on democratic workspaces. Actually, I do not think that democracy captures the issue. I think he means non-industrial workspaces. Here is a juicy quote:
many of us have learned how to send e-mails on a Sunday night but few of us have learned how to go to a movie on a Monday afternoon
University professors and independent consultants both have non-industrial workspaces. Almost. Several professors still run their laboratories and courses using industrial-age models.
While I will not disclose my sources, I know that some laboratories in Montreal require attendance from students during the day, for fear that the university would take back the space allocated. This in an era where a cheap laptop in a local coffee shop is a perfectly sufficient setting to do top-notch research in Computer Science.
Classrooms are badly designed in general. You do not want to get university students facing a blackboard centered around the concept of a hierarchical group. You want universities centered around Downes‘ model where people can network, as in a coffee place.
The problem, of course, is that it is difficult to demonstrate that we can outgun industrial workspaces. Industrial workspaces tend to be very good at satisfying bean counters. They are designed with this very purpose in mind.