Collaboration in Cities: From Sharing to 'Sharing Economy'

Date of Publication: 
December 2018
Publication Type: 
Published by: 
World Economic Forum (with PwC)

We introduce a white paper published by the World Economic Forum (in collaboration with PwC) on conceptualising 'sharing economy' by investigating its implications for cities with more than ten different case studies around the world. According to the paper, the sharing economy is gaining a global momentum for instance, in the US it is predicted that a 20-fold increase between 2016 and 2025 (reaching $674 billion transactions), a 30 % increase annually in the UK for over the next decade ($188 billion), and 40% annual increase in China which is expected to account for 10% of its GDP by 2020. What drives this global phenomenon of sharing economy? The paper extensively investigates the subject by covering a wide range of topics and case studies.

Firstly, the paper starts with defining the different variations of sharing economy and related terms such as the collaborative economy, gig economy, on-demand economy, peer to peer economy and crowd economy, and then it moves on to explore their real-world applications with particular focus on the city level.

The white paper argues that sharing economy has particular relevance for cities in that "sharing can create a sense of community among strangers, which helps to facilitate trust, social inclusion and from an environmental perspective, sharing can reduce overall use of resources through practices such as carpooling and co-working facilities”.

Then the report explores sharing economy practices in different cities such as Melbourne (Bright Sparks, 3000 Acres), New York (596 Acres), Seattle (MyTurn), Philadelphia (Garden Justice Legal Initiative / GJLI), London (Crowdfund London), Montreal (Civic Asset Projects), Barcelona (Programme of Time and Caring Economy) and so forth. Also, it discusses more macro level policy efforts are happening in different cities such as the Municipal Government Act in Alberta and central governments’ promotion initiatives by establishing dedicated institutions such as the Japan Sharing Economy Promotion Office.

Finally the paper analyses different types of sharing economy by actors such as peer to peer, public administration to citizen and city to city collaboration with detailed suggestions for leveraging different interactions. It proposes different policy frameworks for the governments and city administrations where public interventions and regulatory frameworks for market-driven sharing economy is necessary to prevent from possible side effects of sharing economy; notably its uneven distribution of benefits and usages which may exacerbate the existing socio-economic inequality.

You can read the full length of the white paper (attachment)

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