Policies for Shareable Cities: A Sharing Economy Policy Primer for Urban Leaders
In 2009, we first wrote about shareable cities at Shareable, a leader of the global sharing movement: Cities are where we gather, in part, to share basic infrastructure, to socialize, to satisfy our human instinct to congregate, to make culture together. We believed then as we do now, that the sharing economy can democratize access to goods, services, and capital – in fact all the essentials that make for vi- brant markets, commons, and neighborhoods. It’s an epoch shaping opportunity for sustainable urban development that can complement the legacy economy. Resource sharing, peer production, and the free market can empower people to self-provision locally much of what they need to thrive. Yet we’ve learned that current U.S. policies often block resource sharing and peer production. For example, in many cities, laws do not allow the sale of home- grown vegetables to neighbors, donation-based ride-sharing services, or short- term room rentals. Even when legacy institutions are failing to serve, which is increasingly the case, citizens are not free to share with or produce for each other. New policies are needed to unlock the 21st Century power of cities as engines of freedom, innovation and shared prosperity. In 2011, we partnered with the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) to pub- lish a 15-part series on policies for shareable cities. It was the first published exploration of the topic. This primer is a culmination of that work. As always, SELC did the bulk of the legal research and writing. Shareable contributed editorial direction, project management, and funding. Together we offer you a curated set of policy recommendations on four pocket-book issues and priorities of mayors everywhere – transportation, food, housing, and jobs. In addition, this primer reflects input from dozens of leaders from the worlds of law, government, urban planning, business, and alternative economics. We believe the recommendations appeal to different political orientations and sectors of society. And while the primer focuses on what we know best – policies in U.S. cities – we believe that the examples are relevant to cities the world over.