The Commons Collaborative Economy Explodes in Barcelona
Barcelona is not alone in its evolution. From our point of view, 2016 is shaping up to be a turning-point year in which the Sharing and Collaborative Economies enter a period of intense self-examination and reinvention, and the emergence of the Commons model or paradigm comes forward to effect powerful change. For example, OuiShare, early and perhaps earnest proponents of the Sharing Economy from its inception, has taken “After the Gold Rush” as its OuiShareFest 2016 theme title. Clever allusions to Neil Young aside, the sentiment expressed is quite clear. It’s time to examine what’s left after the public image spikes and crashes of so many Sharing Economy darlings; time to pick up the pieces and work harder than ever to re-invent, re-purpose what remains and, perhaps most of all, re-decentralize. Everything.
As part of that process, in mid-March 2016 Barcelona was host to the Commons Collaborative Economies event (also called “Procomuns”), focused on commons-oriented peer production and the collaborative economy. This event centered on producing public policy proposals and technical guidelines for building software platforms for collaborative communities, and it drew a huge and diverse crowd. Over 30 countries were represented, and almost half the attendees were women. The participants page is a welcome relief from the dreaded “all-male panel” awards. There were families with little kids present, which is not so common at events like these. This event was just about ideal in terms of showing that it’s possible to bring together a wide range of people who normally interact online into a “real-world” setting, and accommodate some of their expectations of balanced representation, and even a few of their often overlooked real-world needs – like childcare. The outcome: a series of proposals and policy recommendations for governments, 122 in total, ending in a joint statement of public policies for the collaborative economy, targeted toward both the Barcelona City Council and to the European Commission.