Urban sharing of assets, spaces and skills has emerged as a prospective solution to sustainability challenges faced by cities. However, its sustainability potential and institutional processes to harness it have not been systematically scrutinised. This research programme aims to examine, test and advance knowledge about design, sustainability of practices and institutionalisation processes of urban sharing organisations across three cities. The research conflates studies on sustainable consumption and production with organisational theory and the neo-institutional field.
The DESIGN of urban sharing organisations differs depending on: the type of value creation model; the product, asset or service that is shared; the actors and network involved; and the infrastructure needed to support the sharing organisation.
The PRACTICES of urban sharing organisations dictate the sustainability impacts: environmental, social and financial. Sharing as a business model will be investigated, with an emphasis on the sustainability and social cohesion in cities.
The PROCESSES of institutionalisation have begun to be studied in different ways for the differing sectors within sharing. With a focus on cognitive and socio-political legitimacy, the research will focus on examining institutionalisation of sharing as a practice in cities.
San Francisco and the surrounding area is known for its rich culture, its unique attractions, and its innovative start-up scene. Some of the largest tech companies in the world have gotten their start in the surrounding Bay Area, some of which are or have once been associated with the sharing economy (think Airbnb and Uber). Beyond the giants, there are also many grassroots, niche, community and up-and-coming platforms present. As such, exploring San Francisco and its dynamic entrepreneurial culture is another important layer in our study of the sharing economy. Research will focus primarily on:
How does sharing impact sustainability?
How do cities promote or inhibit sharing?
Through focus groups, we will study: How do users engage with sharing and how do organisations / platforms engage users?
The research team will travel to three cities - Berlin, London, and San Francisco - to explore the contexts in which sharing takes place. This approach will seek to comprehend the situations necessary for sharing to prosper and proliferate by understanding the successes and failures of urban sharing organisations in our case cities. A framework and toolbox will be developed to be shared with politicians and practitioners, with the hope to normalise sharing in cities as a means to improve resource efficiency and social cohesion.
We utilise Mobile Research Lab as a methodology, developed as a method to quickly infiltrate a city context by conducting study visits, observations, interviews and experiments in a semi-structured approach. This method allows researchers to capture a fast-paced, all-encompassing snap-shot of the particular area of interest. In 2017-2018, the research team will plan to visit each city during a one-week intensive visit, which will require months of planning and coordination ahead of time to ensure a robust and worthwhile Mobile Research Lab.
Principle Investigator: Oksana Mont
Senior Researchers: Yuliya Voytenko Palgan, Andrius Plepys
Postdocs: Matthias Lehner & Jagdeep Singh
PhD Students: Lucie Zvolska, Steven Curtis
The research team is comprised of senior researchers, a postdoc, and PhD students, from a multitude of cultures and disciplines. To learn more about their backgrounds and research interest, check out their bios.
The Urban Sharing team is looking for a PhD student to join the team. The appropriate candidate should have the knowledge or capacity to conduct sustainability evaluations, in particular, considering urban sharing organisations. We will focus on relevant global cities engaging in sharing.
The Third International Conference of the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI) took place on June 27–30 2018 in Copenhagen. The conference brought together 200 researchers and practitioners from around the globe, who presented on a wide range of topics from Consumer Behavior, Envisioning & Governing Social Change, Culture & Practices, Transitions to Sustainable Lifestyles, Emergent Research Trends, Practice & Education, and Innovation. The Urban Sharing team organised sessions and presented their research at the conference. Find out more!
One important aspect of our project is dissemination of research results. In the July 2018 issue, PhD Researcher Lucie Zvolska was interviewed for the Sharing Cities Magazine. You can read the full text here.
The 5th International Workshop on the Sharing Economy took place in Mannheim, Germany on 28-29 June 2018. The i-share team at Mannheim University, Germany organised the 5th iteration of the conference; the previous Workshop was organised by the Urban Sharing team in Lund. This year, Yuliya Voytenko Palgan, Lucie Zvolska and Steven Curtis presented their research at this year’s sharing event.
The Urban Sharing team works closely with colleagues at the IIIEE, including Kes McCormick and Charlotte Leire, who coordinate the Sharing Cities Sweden national programme. In April, the Sharing Cities Sweden programme hosted its launch event and workshop on 23 and 24 April respectively. Oksana Mont and Yuliya Voytenko Palgan took part in the events, offering insights from the team's most recent mobile research labs.
In April 2018, the Urban Sharing team performed a mobile research lab in San Francisco, USA. The researchers met with representatives from various sharing platforms, city authorities, civic associations and the academic community. They explored the impacts of sharing on the city in terms of its economic, environmental and social effects, the ways in which the City of San Francisco engages with sharing and the degrees to which sharing is accepted and used by the citizens. Check out the corresponding snapshot here.
A new article “Urban Sharing in Smart Cities: The Cases of Berlin and London” has been published as part of Urban Sharing and Sharing and the City projects. The article develops a conceptual framework that specifies the roles that cities play when governing urban sharing: city as regulator, city as provider, city as enabler and city as consumer. The article is open access and it can be downloaded here:
On 7 March 2018, Urban Sharing researchers Yuliya Voytenko Palgan and Jagdeep Singh together with other IIIEE researchers and Malmö City representatives. The mobile lab was organised as a joint effort between Sharing and the City, Sharing Cities Sweden and Urban Reconomy projects at the IIIEE, Lund University.
On 5th and 6th March 2018, Lucie Zvolska from the Urban Sharing team attended the Sharing Cities Shaping Cities symposium held at the Polytechnical University in Milano. She presented the team’s case studies on how sharing is shaped by local governments and urban sharing organisations in three cities: London, Berlin and Malmö.