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 eight cities from five continents. 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.
The research team will travel to eight cities - Berlin, Barcelona, London, San Francisco, Melbourne, São Paulo, Jakarta, and Seoul - 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 InfraLabs 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. Between 2017-2019, the research team will plan to visit each city during a one-week intensive excursion, which will require months of planning and coordination ahead of time to ensure a robust and worthwhile InfraLab.
Principle Investigator: Oksana Mont
Senior Researchers: Yuliya Voytenko Palgan, Andrius Plepys
Postdoc: Matthias Lehner
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.
In conjunction with the 4th International Workshop on the Sharing Economy, the Urban Sharing team hosted an opportunity for PhD students to study the collaborative economy in Copenhagen. This International Mobile Research Lab combined classroom activities with real-world exploration of the sharing and collaborative and sharing economy in Copenhagen, in particular, in the fashion and mobility sectors.
On 15-16 June 2017, the 4th International Workshop on the Sharing Economy took place in Lund. The workshop was arranged by the IIIEE together with the department of urban planning and environment at KTH (Royal Institute of Technology), and attracted nearly a hundred participants from around the world.
Is the future of sustainable urban transport increased car sharing in cities? Steven took part in a session at the IIIEE Alumni Network Conference in May, where he presented recent findings from Berlin that challenged our notion of car sharing and sustainable transport. The session was organised by Ella Rebalski, Researcher at RISE Victoria. Further inputs were provided by Christian Brandt (Executive Director of OGO Car Share Co-op in British Columbia, Canada) and Brayton Noll (Recent MESPOM Graduate).
We are living in an increasingly urbanising society with real challenges, and opportunities, for future urban spaces to meet the needs of their people. This context set the discussions in motion during "The Urban Planet", which took place on May 18, 2017 and sought to elevate a discussion around Smart Cities, Urban Living Labs (and more broadly, collaboration in cities for sustainability), and new ways of organising urban systems. Team members Yuliya Voytenko Palgan and Steven Curtis were on hand to present their research.
In early April, the Urban Sharing team and a group of five Master's students descending on Berlin. Our goal: to embed, map, understand, investigate, probe, interview, experience, observe everything and anything relating to the sharing economy. So, over the course of five days, we conducted 20 interviews that ranged from sharing organisations, municipal agencies, NGOs, and professional associations.
The 4th International Workshop on the Sharing Economy is to take place in Lund, Sweden on June 15 – 16, 2017, hosted by the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). With growing interest in the sharing economy among academics, entrepreneurs, and policy makers, we are excited to invite you to the workshop for further understanding and discussion.
The workshop will explore the sharing economy from a variety of conceptual, methodological, and empirical lenses including concepts, methods, impacts, operations, geographical contexts, actors and governance. Visit the workshop homepage for more information.
The Urban Sharing team kicked off December with another great opportunity to discuss urban sharing. Oksana Mont, Matthias Lehner and Lucie Zvolska attended a seminar in Malmö, Sweden titled “Advancing Sustainable Cities – Implementing Agenda 2030“, which focused on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in an urban context. Discussions concluded with the need to examine further the future of the sharing economy in relation to jobs and skills. Importance was placed on the role of regulation and legislation for tackling sustainable urban issues. Finally, it was suggested that communicating urban sustainable development through the lens of public health may be a more effective driver for change.
On Wednesday morning, the 16th of November 2016, Urban Sharing team members Lucie Zvolska, Matthias Lehner, and Oksana Mont attended a breakfast seminar to discuss the role of regulation and workers’ rights, along with potential sustainability implications relating to the 'sharing economy'.
As the capital city of Germany, with its complex history and social structures, Berlin is a particularly interesting city to explore. The city sees many examples of grassroots, entrepreneurial and city-supported urban sharing organisations.