Sharing Cities

The digital economy has helped the growth of the sharing economy.

The most obvious example is a services like AirBnB (where you can find people to rent out your spare room on a nightly basis). It’s not just the preserve of southern californians.  This is a search for Dudley – Saturday night.

dudley_-_Airbnb

 

But there are far more ways to think about how sharing can make our cities better places to be and this was the subject being discussed last night at an event in Birmingham.

Julian Agyeman was discussing his book  Sharing Cities: A case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities.

First some sketchy notes I made of the points he was making.

  • The sharing economy can help to build equality in cities.
  • Don’t do area projects, find opportunities for what he called urban acupuncture / pin pricks to relieve pain – He gave the example of the garden library in Medellin – the one time drug crime capital of Columbia.  Built on a hillside where the slums had developed – this encourages new ways of being and connects the city in new ways.
1024px-Biblioteca_España-Medellin
  • Sharing things helps us build relationships –  however we may do that within out own existing networks.  How do we create culturally inclusive spaces? Ones where people talk across what makes them different.
Other examples:
How_One_Boston_Neighborhood_Stopped_Gentrification_in_Its_Tracks_by_Penn_Loh_—_YES__Magazine

This is what he thinks a city should have on their to do list

  1. Map assets –
  2. Put sharabity in the tender/contracts
  3. Encourage Co production
  4. Measure sharing Walkscore -,sharescore
  5. Participatory budgets.
  6. Change taxation, planning and licensing
It got me thinking.  The social media surgeries are part of the sharing economy.  CoLab Dudley is entirely about nurturing it here.
But it also reminds me that the smartest cities are not oiled simply by faster broadband, mobile phone apps or better tech training.  They are made smarter  by the connections and the best connector is often a cup of tea.  So maybe the way to measure collaboration is to count the number of cups of tea drunk in a city.
(Nick Booth is the founder  of Podnosh – and the chap behind the social media surgery movement.)

 

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