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?
How does user engagement impact overall consumption behaviour?
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.
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.
The International Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) hosted of the workshop “Evaluating the Sharing Economy in Cities”, which took place workshop took place on 26 February 2018. The event was hosted by Sharing Cities Sweden, a Swedish national programme for the sharing economy in cities, with IIIEE as coordinator. The Urban Sharing research team participated as part of their ongoing work. Find out more about the workshop!
Professor Oksana Mont, Andrius Plepys, Yuliya Voytenko and Lucie Zvolska of the Urban Sharing team undertook mobile research lab (MRL) in London 12th-17th November 2017. The aim of the MRL was to observe, explore and experience the sharing environment in London.
On the success of the 4th International Workshop on the Sharing Economy, it is with great pleasure we announce a call for papers for a Special Volume of the Journal of Cleaner Production with focus on the Sharing Economy. We invite you to submit your work and spread the news about this special volume. Please note the short time for submitting the full papers – 1st December.
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.