Collaborative consumption and the sharing economy are fast becoming household names and taking root worldwide. Companies and investors in the private sector are transforming marketplaces and redefining exchange.

Meanwhile, cities and public sector stakeholders around the world are grappling with new realities: budget reductions, technology-driven innovation, and an increasingly diverse set of demands from their residents. This is redefining the urban planning process itself.

I have recently attended several city-oriented events, including CityLab in New York City, (co)lab summit in Atlanta and VERGE in San Francisco. I’ve been surprised at the knowledge gap that exists between the private and public sectors when it comes to the kind of innovation – and benefits – that the sharing economy represents.

To date, city governments and the sharing economy companies have rarely been seen as partners. More often, city leaders have dealt with transformative new business models from a reactionary position.  This is understandable: the rules governing many new businesses were developed for an industrial age in which mass consumption and ownership were the norm, and before today’s technologies existed, so they don’t fit within current regulatory structures. Moreover, regulators must strike a balance between competing pressures – from the public, incumbents and a variety of other stakeholders – to encourage innovation and maintain public safety.

Nonetheless, this often results in a status quo that is sub-optimal for the city as a whole. City objectives such as local economic investment, entrepreneurship and resource efficiency are thwarted. It also leads to ongoing tensions, and awkward results (such as the back-and-forth Airbnb rulings in New York City over the past several months – leaving the company, travelers and many others in uncertain limbo). At the end of the day, what people often hear is “no, you can’t do that” – ‘that’ being anything from renting out your room to peer-to-peer carsharing.

There is a much better way to approach this. It’s time to reimagine how city leaders and other officials can get involved in a way that’s mutually beneficial and enables them to act from an informed, empowered position rather than through lawsuits or polarizing headlines.

Welcome to Shareable Cities. A Shareable City enables residents to efficiently and safely share all kinds of assets – from spaces to cars, skills and utilities – to create stronger, healthier and more connected communities.

In the coming weeks, I’ll write about specific issues in more detail. In this initial post, let’s lay out the basic trends that underscore this concept. Whether cities get their approach to Shareable Cities right will be path-critical to their future success. Why? Because cities that embrace this idea will discover powerful and efficient solutions that could positively change transport, jobs, education, tourism, food and many other aspects of the way people live.

Politics: Mayors will rule the world

Even before the recent U.S. government #shutdown, the trend towards local leaders and local solutions had begun. The defining world leaders of the 21st century won’t be presidents or prime ministers. They will be mayors and other local leaders who can guide the communities they serve in ways that lead to transformative change. Each city’s path will be unique, but the most successful cities will do things that other cities can adopt, tweak, and scale.

Benjamin Barber is persuasively explaining why mayors should rule the world. Bruce Katz is leading the Metropolitan Revolution, showing how the devolution of power in cities globally can lead to more productivity and innovation. The Rockefeller Foundation’s Resilient Cities initiative and Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge are just that: city-focused, with mayors as champions with responsibility to see their plans through.

Cities are just starting to wake up to the magnitude and power of the sharing economy. In many places they are waking up quickly. In late 2012, Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon outlined his vision for his city to become the world’s leading Shareable City and a comprehensive strategic plan to realize it. In the United States, 15 mayors signed the Shareable Cities resolution in summer 2013, declaring their support of the sharing economy. However, signing a resolution is the easy part; it is far more important to translate those words into action.

Economics: the city as a resource-efficient, social model

Collaborative consumption models tap into the concept of idling capacity: the underutilized value in assets. When assets sit idle, inefficiency results – lost revenues, more expensive overhead, value left on the table. “Assets” doesn’t mean simply money, cars and homes; it includes our skills, public spaces, rooftops, parking lots and much more.

Idling capacity exists in assets throughout a city, yet in most instances it’s hidden so we don’t see it. We think nothing of cars that sit idle 23 hours a day, and offices that are empty 70% of the time. This includes assets owned by the city itself, which results in a more expensive city to run.

Tapping into the idling capacity of assets costs essentially nothing. It doesn’t require massive infrastructure investments or a rerouting of current systems. A city can save money, create additional revenue sources, or both – simply by using its resources more efficiently. Moreover it can unlock massive wealth in the broader community, by enabling more people to become productively engaged, generating income, and bringing neighbors back into relationship with one another.

via How Shareable is Your City? | Collaborative ConsumptionCollaborative Consumption.

 

I am still surprised by how much climate change denial we come across.Recently Connect4Climate ran the iChange competition, challenging students to present the climate challenge in a 30-second video. We received great responses from around the world and compiled a video with some of the best for MTV.Posting this on our YouTube channel quickly resulted in more than 7000 views, a hearty discussion, and this comment: “lol i havent even watched this video. but ive read some of the comments. global warming is a MYTH!“iClimate Connect4Climate Competition

What? Such outright denial! How can this be when the science is so overwhelming clear, when world leaders have shown their support for climate action, when reports left right and centre highlight the dire impacts of climate change, not least the World Bank’s own 4°C report?

I couldn’t let such comments go without responding. 97% of Scientists agree

First off I responded quoting the recent survey that found that 97% of climate science papers agree global warming is man-made. Surprisingly sceptics still rebut the overwhelming consensus. The next comment was “WHAT SCIENCE?? you show me the science that PROVES there is such a thing?!!” What science? Well all the peer-reviewed scientific literature published in amongst others the most renowned scientific papers, as well as the summary reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC.

Their most recent report, the 5th Assessment Report, shows that scientists are now 95%, up from 90% in 2007, certain that global warming is caused by humans and that the impacts are speeding up. Being a biologist by training, I understand and fully support the peer-review process scientists employ –findings can only be published in a scientific journal once the report has been thoroughly reviewed by other scientists knowledgeable in the field under discussion.

Tom Tanner has an interesting blog on this subject, Getting Serious on Climate Action and on when good science is necessary but not sufficient to induce more action on mitigation and adaptation.

It’s the sun. No, it is us!

read full article at: Is Climate Change a Myth? | Future Development.

 

Regions and projects should focus to 4 Ps’ Place, People, Perspectives and Productivity. In South Eastern Europe we are quite good in understanding place and people especially statically and as numerical characters we have no clue of our future Perspectives and Productivity.

Quite often you may see technically perfect infrastructure that is too big or too small for the needs of the area in question which in the end must cause sustainability issues not only financial but also environmental, social and so on.  We are keen on measuring input and outputs and very eager on being strict in controlling the building books and project reports. There is no way someone would be interested in services to address sustainable source of income. That is why most of public utilities, public infrastructure is built and operated by public institutions.

Budapest castle

Budapest castle

We are investing in shallow interventions since deep ones would change the way we live and the way we produce and distribute the value. In order to attract funding for projects in South Eastern Europe we will need to build long-term visions and leaders to give us an understanding of Perspectives and Productivity.

To understand the profit and revenues are “cool”. We will need to understand that value comes from design, branding, intellect, trust, ethics, loyalty and not from tangibles (roads, industry zones, cultural buildings).

When we understand the value comes from content not from containers the financial schemes of projects will change and sustainability of projects will grow.

Strong committed partnerships will bring target groups together and understand their constraints and their needs and build integrated bankable projects.

The presentation from the Ljubljana forum may be seen here.