Collaborative Consumption, Community + Neighborhoods
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San Francisco Takes the Lead on the Sharing Economy

Last night, leaders from around the sharing space gathered with policy makers and innovative citizens at the downtown headquarters of San Francisco’s urban planning and research nonprofit, SPUR, to discuss San Francisco’s move to becoming the world capital of collaborative consumption. Mayor Edwin M. Lee, who’s earned the nickname the “Innovation Mayor,” kicked off the evening with an enthusiastic invitation for every member of the crowd to keep the sharing economy dialogue moving forward.

Mayor Edwin M. Lee (Photo from Shareable)

“We’re all part of the initial group of policy makers at City Hall that wants to hear views of the collaborative economy … it’s already piqued our interest because it shows how to use less to do more, how to make an expensive city more affordable to more people,” said Mayor Lee as he introduced his policymaker colleagues.

Supervisor Scott Wiener detailed the difficulties involved with shifting policies toward a more collaborative future, pointing out a dichotomy within the city and calling for a city-wide education initiative on the sharing economy. “We are in many ways a cutting edge city in terms of tech, food, transportation, all sorts of things we’re really ahead of the curve. We attract a lot of forward-thinking people who want to do things in a different and more innovative way. We’re also a really old-school city, change here is very challenging. We get a lot of reflexive push back when we’re trying to do things differently. So much of this is really about educating the city as a whole.”

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu directly addressed the event’s panel — which included Leah, Jessica Scorpio, Founder of Getaround; Molly Turner, Director of Public Policy for AirBnB; Jamie Wong, Founder and CEO of Vayable; and Jay Nath, Chief Innovation Officer of the City and County of San Francisco. “We’re looking forward to working with you hand-in-hand to figure out how to make San Francisco not just the capital of innovation, but the capital of the sharing economy … As goes San Francisco, so goes the rest of the country; as goes the rest of the country, so goes the world. I really believe that we’re starting something very special today.”

Shareable co-founder and publisher Neal Gorenflo took a moment to set the scene before introducing the panelists. He detailed the critical state we’re in now, citing the traditional mechanisms of the growth economy as the culprits that landed us here. He pointed out that the sharing economy, which “waits to be shaped by public policy,” will democratize wealth and decision making, result in an increase of market-driven economic activity, move societies toward more sustainable environmental habits, and usher in a cultural shift toward more purposeful work and increased happiness. Simply put, Neal showed us how incredible a future built on sharing would be.

After each panelist introduced themselves and detailed their respective business models, the conversation turned into a brainstorm of what a civic partnership might look like. Each panelist echoed the need for public education on the sharing economy, added infrastructure like collaborative parking options, new regulations tailored to sharing activity, and an official city endorsement of the collaborative consumption space.

The Sharing Economy – April 3rd 2012 from Symbolscape Media on Vimeo.

For more detail of the event, take a look at Shareable’s recap.


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