The sharing economy appears repeatedly in academic literature as a solution to tackle some of the sustainability challenges society is facing. However, few studies quantify impacts of the sharing economy on cities due to the lack of a methodological approaches that allow a systematic and standardized measurement. Therefore, there is need to develop a method to understand how the sharing economy is influencing the sustainability of cities and their development. We discuss our approach in this blogpost.
Steven Curtis, member of the Urban Sharing Team, is co-host of the podcast ‘Advancing Sustainable Solutions’. In the monthly podcast, Steven and co-host Sofie Sandin discuss sustainability research conducted at the IIIEE. In this month’s episode, Steven and Sofie share insights into the sharing economy, including business models as well as the sustainability implications of the sharing economy. Check out their episode!
On 16th April 2019, Lucie Zvolska from the Urban Sharing team attended a Living Mobility Congress in Amsterdam, which brought together over 300 representatives from mobility businesses, urban planners, the city governments and the academia. The aim of to Congress was to (re)imagine the future of mobility in cities and in new area developments. We heard examples from a number of cities, including London, Mexico City, Amsterdam, the Hague, or Bremen.
Urban Sharing Team is on the way home from the project’s first Mobile Research Lab in Amsterdam and while they are reflecting on their impressions from sharing economy in Amsterdam we have a chance to have a look at how their trip has been. Every day between the 8 and 12 of April was packed with interviews, meetings, discussions with Amsterdam city officials, researchers from Utrecht and Twente universities, national organisations lobbying sharing economy, national research institutes, and of course with urban sharing organisations themselves.
In the last decade we have observed an increasing number of people in cities around the world staying in other people’s homes using Airbnb, joining strangers for a ride with BlaBlaBla car, renting city bikes to run errands or do sightseeing, or even borrowing garden tools from a neighbour. Digital technology helps us connect with strangers and borrow their homes, cars, tools, clothes, accessories and toys. It also helps us offer items we do not use often for others to use.
Sharing economy companies have found a way to enter existing markets with historically high entry barriers. Take for example Airbnb, an “accommodation sharing” platform, which has gained more market worth than the world’s fourth largest hotel chain Marriot. While Airbnb was founded only in 2008, Marriot has been around since 1927. Some call the uptake of sharing platforms a “market disruption.” Along with Airbnb, Uber, the taxi-hailing company, is also often mentioned. However, there is more to the sharing economy than Airbnb and Uber, and there is more to the disruption than the talked-about market disruption.
Literature acknowledges the semantic confusion surrounding the sharing economy. Recognising disconnect between the practices being included as part of the sharing economy and its purported sustainability potential, this research sought to synthesise a definition of the sharing economy that prioritised sustainability. Our research began with a systematic literature review. We used NVivo, a software to support analysis of qualitative data, to identify and synthesis the definitions of ‘sharing economy’ included in each article. In this post, we provide our definition, discuss its implications on how the sharing economy has been conceptualised this far, and provide access to our latest publication.
Gathered around the table on a Monday morning, researchers from the Urban Sharing team sit nibbling pepparkakor, the Swedish version of gingerbread cookies. As we wait for colleagues to join us by video, we discuss the purpose of today’s meeting: to begin to develop a typology of platform models in the sharing economy. However, today is unique; we are using this opportunity to explore literature collaboratively, while learning NVivo, a computer software used for the systematic storage, retrieval and/or analysis of qualitative data.
In furthering our knowledge on new institutionalism and learning how urban sharing actors work to institutionalise the sharing economy, Lucie Zvolska from the Urban Sharing team took a PhD course ”Institutional Organizational Analysis – Change and Transformation” at Copenhagen Business School.
In Urban Sharing project, our aim is to analyse sharing economy in different cities across the world. One of the key objectives is to investigate the social, economic and environmental implications of SE in order to help devise regulatory and institutional mechanisms to mitigate the negative impacts and/or support the positive impacts of SE.
In October two Master students of Environmental Policy and Management (EMP) have defended their theses in the field of sharing economy.
At the start of the project we are revising methods that we are to employ in the project. One of our methods for collecting empirical data is the so-called Mobile Research Lab. The method of “mobile research lab” builds on the idea and term coined by Harriet Bulkeley (Durham University) and Johannes Stripple (Lund University) to represent a type of research activity when an interdisciplinary group of researchers visits various sites to study a certain phenomenon in a city.