Cities battle many issues, and recourses are often scarce to address these. The field of the collaborative/sharing economy has grown immensely, and as result, it has been wildly debated. As Rachel Botsman mentions in ‘The State of the Sharing Economy’, we have come to a time in the development with healthy skepticism, addressing issues that need attention. She shortly also discusses innovation in relation to regulation.


Born out of issues that cities face and combining it with the collaborative economy, is what we like to call the Sharing City. What is a Sharing City you may ask? Any city can become a Sharing City if they work consciously and purposely with opportunities and challenges. Cities need to take multiple steps towards the goal of becoming a Sharing City, and all players need to be involved in order to become successful. One way of becoming a Sharing City is to join the Sharing City Alliance where cities will receive up-to-date knowledge and news in the field, strategy consultations, assistance and inspiration for starting pilot projects, be invited to the Sharing City Summit which will encourage city to city learning.




1. SUCCESSFUL BOTTOM UP SOLUTIONS. Collaborative/sharing economy initiatives are oftentimes formed by people who experience a problem. Thus, solutions often manage to hit the nail on the head. Since the community develops the solutions themselves, such initiatives are more likely to succeed when supported by the government rather than when solutions are pushed onto the community. Additionally, governments are less likely to invest in solutions that may be high risk and might not work, since the community has eliminated most of that risk already. As summarized by Katz and NoringSolving problems close to the ground is often more effective, efficient, and democratic than policymaking in a remote national capital”.

2.    INCREASING INCLUSIVITY. The collaborative/sharing economy solutions are in their nature inclusive. They are designed to encourage people to participate and be involved in order for the solution to be successful.

3.    BOOSTING SOCIAL CAPITAL. Collaborative/sharing economy solutions boost social capital in a natural way. This could possibly solve more than what was initially intended, creating a positive spill-over effect.

4.    ADDRESSING SUSTAINABILITY. The issue of sustainability is automatically addressed, which is also evident since the collaborative/sharing economy is part of circular economy model as presented in the report on Circular Advantage by Accenture.  


Less is more - sharing will ultimately move to using less and still having access to what we need.”

5.    BLURRING LINES BETWEEN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE. The traditional lines between the public and private spheres are getting blurred as described by Harmen van Sprang and Pieter van de Glind in their article published by EUKN. It is increasingly unclear where private activity turns into entrepreneurial activity, as consumers can become hoteliers, sellers, lenders, transporters and producers at the click of a button. This has consequences for many important pillars of our society such as taxation, insurance and regulation. Understanding how your city can work to address these issues is part of becoming a Sharing City.

6.    CITY-2-CITY LEARNING. Another useful insight as a Sharing City is the higher inclination to learn from other cities’ experiences. Thus, becoming a Sharing City facilitates city-2-city learning. Sharing becomes a part of your DNA, therefore it becomes natural for your city to want to share your experiences and learn from other cities.

7.    A NATURAL SOLUTION TO MANY CHALLENGES. City challenges are many and they are for example addressed by the European Union and business sources such as Business Insider. Inspired by these sources, issues that cities deal with are concerned with health care, poverty, pollution and sustainability, gentrification, lack of inclusivity and access, infrastructure, ‘shrinking areas’, data an technology developments, housing, education, and economic development. These issues, with sharing solutions, will be addressed in our next blog.

Can you think of other reasons of how a city would benefit through adapting the collaborative economy? Share them in the comments!



The collaborative/sharing economy can help your city immensely. Not only will it address the issues that you were hoping to solve, but it usually has a spill-over effect, where other problems are addressed. 

Your city can start it’s path towards becoming a Sharing City right now. The Sharing City Alliance consists of cities that want to adapt the collaborative/sharing economy to their strategy. Cities in the Sharing City Alliance get access to all essential knowledge and research, receive support from our experts through strategy development and consultations, exposure and assistance with pilot projects, and the connection to other cities and opportunity to learn from each other. Join here or read more here

By Theresa Thomasson