Urban sharing in smart cities: the cases of Berlin and London

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Urban sharing in smart cities

T2 - Local Environment

AU - Zvolska, Lucie

AU - Lehner, Matthias

AU - Voytenko Palgan, Yuliya

AU - Mont, Oksana

AU - Plepys, Andrius

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - Addressing urban sustainability challenges requires changes in the way systems of provision and services are designed, organised and delivered. In this context, two promising phenomena have gained interest from the academia, the public sector and the media: “smart cities” and “urban sharing”. Smart cities rely on the extensive use of information and communications technology (ICT) to increase efficiencies in urban areas, while urban sharing builds on the collaborative use of idling resources enabled by ICT in densely populated cities. The concepts have many similar features and share common goals, yet cities with smart city agendas often fail to take a stance on urban sharing. Thus, its potentials are going largely unnoticed by local governments. This article addresses this issue by exploring cases of London and Berlin – two ICT-dense cities with clearly articulated smart city agendas and an abundance of sharing platforms. Drawing on urban governance literature, we develop a conceptual framework that specifies the roles that cities assume when governing urban sharing: city as regulator, city as provider, city as enabler and city as consumer. We find that both cities indirectly support urban sharing through smart agenda programmes, which aim to facilitate ICT-enabled technical innovation and emergence of start-ups. However, programmes, strategies, support schemes and regulations aimed directly at urban sharing initiatives are few. We also find that Berlin is sceptical towards urban sharing organisations, while London took more of a collaborative approach. Implications for policy-makers are discussed in the end.

AB - Addressing urban sustainability challenges requires changes in the way systems of provision and services are designed, organised and delivered. In this context, two promising phenomena have gained interest from the academia, the public sector and the media: “smart cities” and “urban sharing”. Smart cities rely on the extensive use of information and communications technology (ICT) to increase efficiencies in urban areas, while urban sharing builds on the collaborative use of idling resources enabled by ICT in densely populated cities. The concepts have many similar features and share common goals, yet cities with smart city agendas often fail to take a stance on urban sharing. Thus, its potentials are going largely unnoticed by local governments. This article addresses this issue by exploring cases of London and Berlin – two ICT-dense cities with clearly articulated smart city agendas and an abundance of sharing platforms. Drawing on urban governance literature, we develop a conceptual framework that specifies the roles that cities assume when governing urban sharing: city as regulator, city as provider, city as enabler and city as consumer. We find that both cities indirectly support urban sharing through smart agenda programmes, which aim to facilitate ICT-enabled technical innovation and emergence of start-ups. However, programmes, strategies, support schemes and regulations aimed directly at urban sharing initiatives are few. We also find that Berlin is sceptical towards urban sharing organisations, while London took more of a collaborative approach. Implications for policy-makers are discussed in the end.

KW - sharing economy

KW - smart cities

KW - sustainability

KW - Urban governance

KW - urban sharing

U2 - 10.1080/13549839.2018.1463978

DO - 10.1080/13549839.2018.1463978

M3 - Article

VL - 24

SP - 628

EP - 645

JO - Local Environment

JF - Local Environment

SN - 1354-9839

IS - 7

ER -