By mobilising unused goods and services, the sharing economy can contribute to the sustainable city of the future. For example, one drilling machine can suffice to serve 6 households. The benefit to the environment therefore lies in the materials that are not needed to produce the 5 other drills. The sharing economy is mainly taking place in cities, where many people and goods come together.
With the project 'The Sharing City', we investigated the contribution of a sharing economy to the development of a sustainable city and what our role as a city could be. Under the guidance of Stadslab2050, the urban innovation lab on sustainability, three partners each set up a pilot project:
Samenlevingsopbouw Antwerpen Stad explored the potential of sharing materials and services for socially vulnerable groups. They went to work with the sharing of books at the school gate. Can the sharing economy contribute to new forms of solidarity?
Antwerp Management School showed that companies and organisations are also taking steps towards an urban sharing economy. Their brand-new campus and shared bicycle parking on the Mechelse Plein were the reason to start looking for shared profits together with the neighbourhood.
And what if the urban organisation itself started to share? With a centralisation of services on the agenda, the City Management Department of the city of Antwerp examined how sharing fits into its operations.
Partners Samenlevingsopbouw Antwerpen stad, Antwerp Management School
Thanks to the project, we gained many additional insights about the role of the city in a future sustainable sharing economy. The potential of the sharing economy, with its wide range of forms and possibilities, was reconfirmed.
Local governments are often still at the beginning of a broad implementation of the sharing economy in their policies. We do realise that the shift from ownership to use has already started several years ago and will continue to gain momentum.
As a follow-up to this project, the city management department of Antwerp is investigating the social impact of the future logistics centre, where many executive services will be centralised. As a result, the sharing economy remains on the agenda. The new policy paper on shared use of space also ensures anchoring in the city's operations.
The results and experiences have encouraged Antwerp Management School to embed future sharing actions more strongly in its own basic operation. For the new batch of Fulltime Master students 2019, the opportunity was created within their Global Leadership Skills development track to set up sustainable actions for and with the neighbourhood.
Community Development is looking for partners to develop structural cooperation so that these initiatives are also supported by other actors. For example, there is a discussion to make book sharing a permanent part of the local library in Deurne.