Back in 2012, the Sharing Economy 2.0 was just picking up. Tool libraries were hailed as a new beginning to community sharing, public libraries began to rethink what it meant to share and investors flocked to peer-to-peer sharing platforms that promised to change everything.
At this time, The Sharing Project was just starting up. Our purpose was to support the growth of the sharing economy by providing research about what communities want to share. We wanted to make sure that as this trend exploded, people remembered what it meant to share and recognized the true benefits that sharing can have for their communities.
In 2013/14, we published our report to much herald from local news agencies and organizations. We took our report on a tour, disseminating our findings in the local community with the hopes that with this fresh data and some community events, local sharing organizations would flourish.
While neighbourhood sharing initiatives have grown and developed, overall we feel that this part of the sharing economy still has a lot of potential to grow. Vancouver still has only one tool library, a few makers spaces and has yet to fully explore kitchen and music lending. Our research supports that people are interested in borrowing within a close proximity of where they live and from community organizations as well as their peers. Community organizations have played an important role in the history of sharing and they will continue to play an important role into the future. These organization’s social purpose motivates people to donate their idle goods to be shared and in turn, allows the organization to offer shared assets to their communities in a much more affordable and accessible way.
What we’ve realized is that while people know neighbourhood sharing initiatives are important community assets, no one is currently focused on their development. In the same way that our municipalities develop parks and community centres, The Sharing Project sees itself as a Sharing Project Development Group. We’re back as an organization that focuses on the development of neighbourhood sharing initiatives!
As we start off in 2016, we are reaching out to municipalities to help them understand the importance of these initiatives. If you want to see initiatives in your community, be in touch and we can help you get started.
Director, The Sharing Project