The Collaborative Economy: Building a Sustainable Future, by April Rinne

As part of their Distinguished Speaker Series, the David O’Brien Center for Sustainable Enterprise welcomed April Rinne for a talk on “Collaborative consumption and the Sharing Economy: Opportunities for cities, organizations and well-being”. April Rinne and her team are currently on a Canadian roadshow to present their research and their project cities4people.

As the chief strategy officer of Collaborative Lab, April Rinne works with citizens, entrepreneurs, companies, and governements who are interested in understanding collaborative consumption and its potential to build a more sustainable future.

Using a variety of examples such as Communauto – the first large scale carsharing program in North America – AirBnb, Lyft, Vancouver Tool Library, or TaskRabbit April Rinne demonstrated that the emergence of such marketplaces have tremendously transformed our traditional marketplace behaviors by unlocking “a hidden wealth of underutilized resources”.

The four key drivers of the collaborative economy, i.e. technological innovations, values shift, economic realities and environmental pressures, led to a massive paradigm shift in how we live, and how we approach consumption and power with the emergence of numerous decentralized networks of individuals.

In addition to meeting people’s needs, the collaborative economy allows for building relationships and stronger communities. The sharing economy is hence one concept with multiple dimensions: You can participate with or without money, you can use or not use technology, you can decide to share with your neighbor on a local level or collaborate with someone you will never see who lives on another continent.

This increased connectedness also has impacts the urban planning process as cities become a sharing laboratory. This, somehow logically led us to the question: How the collaborative economy benefit cities in the context of resilience and sustainability?

April Rinne concluded her talk by underscoring the potential of cities as innovative labs. She presented her recent projet citiesforpeople, inviting everyone to participate and contribute: What would you like to see? What could you do to make that happen?

All comments, ideas and suggestions are welcome! You can register on the website http://citiesforpeople.ca/en/ (@cities4people) and take part in the @shareablecity project!

Source image à la une: collaborativeconsumption

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