Sharing Economy vs Sharing Cultures? Designing for social, economic and environmental good

Ann Light & Clodagh Miskelly
pp. 49 – 62, download


This paper explores the story behind a crowdfunding service as an example of sharing technology. Research in a small neighborhood of London showed how locally-developed initiatives can differ in tone, scale, ambition and practice to those getting attention in the so-called sharing economy. In local accounts, we see an emphasis on organizing together to create shared spaces for collaborative use of resources and joint ownership of projects and places. Whereas, many global business models feature significant elements of renting, leasing and hiring and focus only on resource management, sometimes at the expense of community growth. The service we discuss is based in the area we studied and has a collective model of sharing, but hopes to be part of the new global movement. We use this hybridity to problematize issues of culture, place and scalability in developing sharing resources and addressing sustainability concerns. We relate this to the motivation, rhetoric and design choices of other local sharing enterprises and other global sharing economyinitiatives, arguing, in conclusion, that there is no sharing economy, but a variety of new cultures being fostered.

keywords: Sharing, Design, Place, Sustainability, Exploitation, Collaborative consumption.

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