Urban Sharing -

From Excess Economy to Access Economy

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 ambitious research programme aims to examine, test and advance knowledge about design, sustainability of practices and institutionalisation processes of urban sharing organisations in different cities. The first part of the programme Urban Sharing - From Excess Economy to Access Economy was run in 2017 -2018 with financial support provided by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond. It covered 3 cities: Berlin, London and San Francisco.

The research conflates studies on sustainable consumption and production with organisational theory and the neo-institutional field. The three objectives are:


To examine the ways in which urban sharing schemes are designed and how they vary across cities.


To study the sustainability of daily practices of urban sharing schemes and why and how they vary in different cities.


To develop and test a theoretical framework for integrative and comparative assessment of institutionalisation processes of urban sharing schemes across cities.

The proposed research intends to produce a step-change in sustainability science by undertaking a multi- and inter-disciplinary study of urban sharing. Using a combination of methods, including case studies, infra-labs, focus groups, interviews, expert panels and field observations, this research will provide a systematic, integrative and comparative analysis of urban sharing, with outputs including an interdisciplinary theoretical framework, a suit of tested hypotheses regarding institutionalisation processes of urban sharing schemes across cities and policy recommendations. This will open up new horizons for further research and new avenues for fostering sustainability in society.