SHARE VIENNA is a research project within the framework of sustainable consumption and production. The project focuses on collaborative consumption, i.e. an approach to consumption that emerged from the shifts brought by globalization and technological developments, which places access over ownership and brings us “back” to bartering, trading, swapping and sharing in a modern re-defined form.
Collaborative consumption, named by TIME one of the “10 Ideas That Will Change the World” shows how new technologies enable building trust between strangers, reinventing not just WHAT we consume but HOW we consume. Importantly, it is not anti-business, anti-product or anti-consumer – it is simply a new approach to consumption based on sustainable behavior. Collaborative consumption is essentially a reformulation of outdated modes of business (see left). There are three systems of collaborative consumption:
- redistribution markets, i.e. redistribution of used or pre-owned goods from where they are no longer needed to where such need exists (for example: big online marketplaces www.willhaben.at, www.craigslist.org)
- collaborative lifestyles, i.e. grouping of people aimed at sharing and exchanging less tangible assets such as skills, space, time, etc. (for example: social exchange platforms such as LETS www.waffeltausch.at/; co-working spaces vienna.impacthub.net, www.sektor5.at/)
- product-service systems, i.e. systems whereby consumers pay for what a product does for them, rather than the outright ownership of this product (for example: Zipcar www.carsharing.at/de/pub/; bike sharing www.citybikewien.at/; P2P rental www.usetwice.at/)
These systems are driven by four elements: a renewed belief in the importance of community; peer-to-peer social networks and real-time technologies that change the way we behave on daily basis; unresolved environmental concerns; the global recession we have been dealing with for quite a while. Those key drivers lead to an explosion of sharing, which is gaining momentum largely thanks to, but is not confined to, the representatives of Generation Y, or ‘digital natives’. Members of this generation grew up in a world where the Internet has strongly marked its presence, making sharing an integral part of life. From sharing and exchanging all sorts of files, we went on to share knowledge and opinions, to finally share products and skills.
Collaborative consumption platforms have been gradually spreading throughout the globe from the US and the UK, with a diverse level of successfulness. Collaborative consumption in Vienna is mainly visible in larger scale initiatives, e.g. car sharing (Car2Go, Zipcar), and bike sharing (Citybike Wien), leaving lots of other smaller-scale initiatives unnoticed. This prevents consumers from reaping the benefits of collaborative consumption and making the transformation to more sustainable consumption happen. It is exactly here where SHARE VIENNA comes into the picture. SHARE VIENNA starts with building a database of collaborative consumption initiatives in the Austrian capital, and aims at reaching the following objectives
- Building a local understanding of what collaborative consumption means in the context of Vienna
- Increasing the visibility of collaborative consumption and fostering the engagement of Viennese citizens in new economic activities
- Rendering ideas for translating the concept through online and offline channels, thus increasing the knowledge on sharing and non-ownership based facet of more sustainable consumption
- Using the new types of economic activity as a stimulus for smart city process in Vienna
SHARE VIENNA places collaborative consumption on the intersection of smart economy and smart people – as such, it feeds into the need for less technological focus in smart city research. SHARE VIENNA is a perfect example of implicating the science-society interface projects lying in the heart of RCE Vienna. The project starts in September 2014 and is funded by the city of Vienna (Jubiläumsfonds der Stadt Wien für die Wirtschaftsuniversität). The project will be conducted in cooperation with our partner, Umweltdachverband.
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Read more about collaborative consumption at:
Listen to Rachel Botsman, the leading face of collaborative consumption, at: www.ted.com, http://www.youtube.com