This post aims to explore the opportunities that may arise with the spread of the collaborative economy on a given territory. It is based on the work of Benjamin Tincq and Diana Filippova - Ouishare Connectors – about collaborative territories in France. As part of the research conducted in partnership with the CG92 - Hauts de Seine “département”- they wrote an essay (in French) published in Les Entretiens Albert Kahn, and they co-organized a workshop with policy makers on October 8th with Samuel Roumeau from Sharitories. Their contribution is an important input to the Sharitories program and the prospective Collaborative Territories Toolkit, especially since it is extremely well documented and conceived as a call for concrete action at local level.
Ouishare defines the collaborative economy as the wide range of practices and economic models based on horizontal structures and communities’ contribution. A collaborative territory is defined as a territory that hosts and nurtures practices, projects, spaces and tools from the collaborative economy to the benefits of an open, horizontal and abundant territory. Put simply, the central question behind this definition can be asked as follows: on which kind of territory do we want to live collectively? Ouishare created a typology to explain the contours of this notion of collaborative territory. It articulates around three components: shared territories, productive territories, and territories as commons.
A typology for collaborative territories
Shared territories envision the territory as a platform. They host the fast growing collaborative consumption, whose development has been facilitated by the multiplication of (hyper) local systems and global platforms. Systems such as ridesharing, bikesharing, coworking, local food consumption and production, or p2p home rentals have emerged quickly in the mid 2000s. While these are the most frequently implemented collaborative services on territories, they sometimes create tensions and controversies, especially in the hotel and taxi sectors. These sharing systems promote usage rather than possession of material goods, and favour horizontal organization and reduced roles of intermediaries. As these systems need a very local critical mass, the local territory is a very good entry point to supporting their development. The explosion of collaborative consumption on territories concerns several sectors. First, mobility is probably the most dynamic sector with the development of long distance ridesharing (Blablacar), instant ridesharing (Lyft), p2p car rentals (Drivy), or even shared cars and bikes (Autolib’ and Velib’ in Paris). Second, the food sector puts emphasis on local production, distribution and consumption (the most famous initiative is La Ruche Qui Dit Oui). Third, the tourism sector is also boiling with various initiatives such as p2p house rentals (AirBnb), Couchsurfing, sharing food at one’s place (Cookening), or p2p travel experiences (Vayable).