On the positive side, the sharing of goods and services among citizens and local businesses benefits the local economy, improves social cohesion and boosts sustainability and overall quality of life. However, the sharing economy poses challenges as well. The blurring line between public and private activities may lead to friction between different stakeholders and force cities to reconsider policies and regulations (i.e. taxation, licensing, and zoning). A growing number of cities around the world are placing the sharing economy at the forefront of their overall strategy, many of which have the ambition to become a sharing city: a city that responds strategically to the emergence of the sharing and platform economy by unlocking opportunities and addressing challenges.
The Sharing Cities Alliance was established on the 18th of May, 2017 in New York City during the world’s second Sharing Cities Summit. City leaders from 22 cities from 13 countries and 4 continents came together to discuss the opportunities and challenges of the sharing economy.
The Sharing Cities Alliance is a city network operated by an independent foundation that connects cities from all continents, and fosters city-to-city collaboration, empowering city governments to continuously address the sharing economy.
"Not only because it will make cities faster and more efficient in acting on societal disruptions, but also because it will allow cities to team up and jointly work on new legislation when they are dealing with issues that involve the rise of large platforms. Through the Alliance, cities are building a global answer to a global phenomenon." The Huffington Post, June 2017.
Becoming an associate partner is recommended to cities that want to follow what cities in the Alliance are doing without taking part in the summits, seminars, and other activities. Associate partners have full access to the case studies, policies, and research collected in the Alliance Lexicon (ALEX) and receive the Sharing Cities Magazine. Joining the Alliance as an associate saves your city time in getting to know the sharing and platform economy and how to make the most of its challenges and opportunities.
Becoming a partner is recommended to cities that want to shape the development of the sharing and platform economy actively and collaboratively. Partner cities recognize the potential and challenges of the sharing economy and want to increase awareness within and outside the city government. Partner cities (aim to) develop strategies, set priorities and are exploring potential pilot projects. Joining the Alliance as a partner will provide your city full access to the Alliance activities. This includes: access to online interactive seminars co-hosted by a city from the Alliance; four online one-on-one sessions with a sharing and platform economy expert; access to a yearly summit; access to the Alliance Lexicon (ALEX) and receiving a monthly magazine that updates you on Sharing City activities and research from around the world. By showcasing best practices and projects through our online and social media channels, partner cities also get the opportunity to put their city on the map as a pioneering (sharing) city. Joining the Alliance as a partner will enable your city to continuously and effectively embrace the sharing and platform economy’s opportunities and respond to its disruptions.
Becoming a premium partner is recommended to cities that seek excellence in their integration with the sharing economy and a complete experience of what the Alliance has to offer, plus a custom tailored strategic visit to your city by an expert on the sharing economy. This day is designed as a power booster for developing a full sharing city strategy or to significantly advance one or more sectors and/or policy specific areas in your city through a flexible format of keynote presentations, workshops, and (policy) design sessions.
“This new network is going to be phenomenally useful to cities like New York. Until now, we’ve each navigated the sharing economy on our own. We’ve often been reactive, regulating in response to one company or one sector at a time. Now, we can strategise for the future.”
Alicia Glen - Deputy Mayor of New York City
“Developments in the sharing and platform economy can go fast. Sometimes governments cannot keep up at the same pace as the platforms. In Cities we know that we depend on national regulations or European regulations and that also takes a lot of time. We don’t have that time. Therefore I think that the Sharing Cities Alliance is very important because there we can learn from each other. We can immediately exchange information. So we know from each other how we are dealing with issues and what we are saying to the companies from the platform economy that are active in our cities. This makes us stronger as cities. I really believe it is necessary to make sure that we profit from the positive effects, but that we also deal with the negative effects. I think that the platform companies are quite aware of the fact that the cities are aligning through the Sharing Cities Alliance.”
Kajsa Ollongren - Former Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam
“We have a traditional saying: ‘if you both suffer from the same disease, it is better to sympathise with each other.’ Together we can learn to better use existing resources to become more sustainable. Together we will be better able grasp the opportunity and to deal with the challenges offered to us by the sharing economy. I would like all cities to join forces and overcome our challenges together."
Ma Chae-sook, Director of Social Innovation, Seoul Metropolitan Government
"The issues we face are similar to other cities. Being part of the Sharing Cities Alliance offers us the opportunity to discuss our ideas, share our successes, failures and challenges. It enables us to collectively figure out how we can make our cities what they need to be."
Ernest Chrappah, Director Department Vehicle For-Hire, Washington D.C.
The City of Amsterdam collaborates with sharing platforms to solve social issues and to ensure a sharing economy for all. The city connected their city pass, a free card offering discounts or free entry to events and services for low-income groups, to sharing platforms.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced that they established the first privately shared bicycle operation standard. The operational standard specifies guidelines to maximise the advantages of the shared bicycles while preventing the revealed problems such as citizen safety, city appearance, and public nature.
The popularity of ride sharing and hailing in Washington D.C. has increased enormously. D.C.’s Department For-Hire Vehicles (DFHV) is taking an active role to ensure accessible and affordable transportation for everyone. The city started pilot projects, leveraging big data, and created their own digital platform.
The city of Gothenburg, Sweden won the Eurocities 2017 Circular Economy Participation award with their Smart Map: a tool that maps the sharing economy in Gothenburg city. The Smart Map includes over 100 sharing initiatives and facilitates sharing in the city.