Build a Sharing Community to Unlock the Power of Cities

| 12/18/2013 7:09:00 PM

The sharing economy is moving into the mainstream. Sharing innovations old and new such as cooperatives, Sidecar, Airbnb, RelayRides and bike-sharing programs are on the rise and show that sharing resources is good for cities.

With their population density, public spaces, and vast social networks, cities are already ideal platforms for sharing. Sharing innovations promise to take cities to the next level by democratizing access to goods and services, connecting neighbors in mutually beneficial ways, and reducing waste. In the process, urban economies could become more innovative, resilient and democratic.

Some cities, including San Francisco and Seoul, are positioning themselves as global leaders in the sharingPolicies For Shareable Cities movement. But many municipalities are saddled with dated legislation and low awareness of the ways that sharing can transform cities for the better. Policies that prevent the sharing of vehicles and homes, or the selling of locally-grown or handmade foods, need to be re-examined. As Shareable co-founder Neal Gorenflo says, “New policies are needed to unlock the 21st century power of cities as engines of freedom, innovation and shared prosperity.”

Recently, Shareable, a leading voice of the sharing movement, partnered with the Sustainable Economies Law Center on a report titled and Policies for Shareable Cities: a Sharing Economy Policy Primer for Urban Leaders. Designed with city officials in mind, the primer includes input from “dozens of leaders from the worlds of law, government, urban planning, business, and alternative economics.” It provides policy recommendation, insights into the importance of integrating sharing programs, and examples of cities that have the recommended services in place.

Below are the key areas the report covers along with some of the recommendations for integrating the various sharing programs into city policy.

Shareable Transportation

Car-sharing, ride-sharing and bikes-sharing programs are all viable ways to increase transportation efficiency in cities. Primer recommendations include designating parking spaces for carsharing vehicles; incorporating car-sharing programs in new, multi-unit developments; allowing residential parking spot leasing for car-sharing; applying more appropriate local taxes on car-sharing; creating economic incentives for ridesharing; designating ridesharing pick-up spots and park-and-ride lots; creating a Guaranteed Ride Home program; and adopting a city-wide public bikesharing program.

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