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As a follow up to my Top 10 Reasons Why 2014 Will Be the Year of Shareable Cities post, comes this list. It is intended to serve as a guide for policy-makers and cities worldwide. Expect more Shareable Cities posts from Collaborative Lab soon.

A Shareable City looks at multiple aspects of urban planning and community well-being through a collaborative economy lens, and proactively supports activities and platforms. Here are some of the best ways to get started.

1. Create a department, agency, working group or other vehicle to lead collaborative economy strategy and vision. This agency must have the authority (“teeth”) to take decisions and implement plans. It should also have dedicated staff, funding, and annual budget and accountability.

2. Memorialize and publicly communicate your commitment to the collaborative economy. For example, sign a version of the Shareable Cities Resolution or create your own manifesto.

3. Do systematic mappings of assets owned by the city. If a city doesn’t know what it owns, it’s hard to assess which assets have idling capacity and/or might be shared. Mapping also serves to identify critical gaps – and opportunities – for community space and engagement.

4. Systematically review all internal operations and policies, and see where you can use, promote or create collaborative economy platforms. For example : employee carsharing and ridesharing programs (such as Zipcar and Liftshare), using Airbnb for business travel ; including shareability criteria in local procurement tenders and other municipal contracts.

5. Review and assess all mandates and other initiatives the city has signed up to already where the collaborative economy might help to achieve the city’s goals. For example : sustainability ; climate action plans and/or carbon reduction targets ; “green” businesses ; local economic investment ; reuse and recycling (or “Circular Economy”) ; neighborhood vitality.

6. Review all policies that relate to the external ‘enabling environment’ for collaborative economy businesses.

  • Develop robust mechanisms and processes for reform of policies that are outdated or otherwise ill-suited for appropriate and effective regulation.
  • For all sectors : look at taxation, zoning, insurance and licensing.
  • Shareable Transportation : update parking space policies to prioritize shared-use vehicles ; incorporate or sponsor car- and bikesharing programs ; create incentives for ridesharing.
  • Shareable Space & Housing : allow short-term rentals in residential areas ; include shareability criteria in property development and rehabilitation projects ; support and incentivize more efficient types of housing (e.g. co-housing, small apartments, ADUs).
  • Shareable Food & Urban Agriculture : update zoning laws to facilitate and encourage agriculture on vacant lots and other public spaces for local food sharing and commerce.
  • Local Economic Development : revisit a range of policies focused on small businesses, jobs and livelihood creation, ‘freelance’ and independent worker needs, and capacity building.
  • For additional suggestions, consult resources like the SELC Sharing Economy Policy Primer.

7. Use collaborative economy platforms and become a member of the community. There is no better way to understand the collaborative economy than by getting involved in it directly. This gives first-hand experience, facilitates learning alongside entrepreneurs, and enables better understanding of necessary and appropriate policy reforms. Use both monetized and non-monetized platforms to understand the benefits, complementarities and differences between them. Also include cooperative structures.

8. Pursue “low hanging fruit” opportunities, such as creating a hyper-local directory of examples. The local government of Adelaide created ShareNSave for residents. The online hub CollaborativeConsumption.com has thousands of examples searchable by location.

9. Commit investment funds in the collaborative economy ecosystem. This may include investing in company incubators and accelerators ; research agendas (such as Vancouver’s The Sharing Project) ; building capacity of collaborative economy companies, networks and cooperatives ; shared infrastructure ; and community-focused financing mechanisms.

10. Provide open, affordable high-speed internet access for all residents. Many collaborative economy businesses are technology-enabled, making internet access a key gating factor. Address this bottleneck directly, which also enhances digital literacy of residents overall.

And of course, network with other Shareable Cities whenever and however possible !

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