#043 Will the Real Sharing Economy Please Stand Up?

With Darren Sharp, Lizette Salmon & Jose Ramos


The sharing economy is a phenomenon. But what is it exactly? The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says it “connects consumers to people who have products or services to sell, hire or lease via an online platform.” And “It includes services such as Airbnb and Uber.” But the folk at the heart of the sharing economy call that commerce – and in some cases, mere extensions of the current extractive economy that is driving us into multiple crises. 

Darren Sharp, Shareable’s Australian editor, presenting at last year’s National Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne, for the launch of ‘Sharing Cities’. Pic: Anthony James.

Darren Sharp, Shareable’s Australian editor, presenting at last year’s National Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne, for the launch of ‘Sharing Cities’. Pic: Anthony James.

It’s about empowering the citizenry, reframing people from city users to city makers, and then embedding that in legislation and in culture. So it’s actually more than just nice symbolism, it’s actually walking the talk. There has to be some kind of power sharing going on. Co-governance that matches co-production.
— Darren Sharp

Last year Anthony hosted the launch of a brilliant new book produced by Shareable. Shareable is an award-winning, non-profit, global hub of news, action and connection for the sharing transformation. It calls this transformation “a movement of movements, emerging from the grassroots, to solve today’s biggest challenges”, from poverty to global warming – the challenges that old, top-down institutions are failing to address.  

The book is called ‘Sharing Cities: Activating the Urban Commons’, a how-to guide showcasing over 100 sharing-related case studies and model policies from more than 80 cities. “From community composting to makerspaces, repair cafés and platform co-operatives, people are coming together in cities everywhere to develop solutions for the common good. They show that sharing can lead everyone to have more, together.”

Leading the conversation is the Australian editor of Shareable, Director of Social Surplus, and Research Fellow at the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, Darren Sharp, with a 10-minute keynote. Then we’re joined by special guests: Lizette Salmon, a pioneering figure in the Repair Café movement, founding coordinator of Albury-Wodonga’s popular Repair Café, and Coordinator of WATCH (Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health); and Dr Jose Ramos, co-founder of the Footscray Maker Lab, Director of Action Foresight, and fellow founding board member with Darren of the growing New Economy Network Australia. 

Their 5-minute responses are followed by audience Q&A, all taking place at the 2018 National Sustainable Living Festival. 

Incidentally, some of the endorsements from around the world for the book ‘Sharing Cities’ are recommended reading in themselves: 

“Once again, Shareable shows how we can retrieve the very best features of urban life — consciously, constructively, and creatively.” - Douglas Rushkoff, author of “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity” and host of the Team Human podcast (Douglas features on podcast #041).

Title slide pic: from the cover of Sharing Cities, with thanks to Darren Sharp.

Get more:

On Shareable and the book Sharing Cities, including how to purchase it or download a free PDF.

On Darren Sharp and Social Surplus.

On Lizette Salmon and the Repair Café Albury Wodonga (with links to others).

On Dr Jose Ramos and Action Foresight.

On the National Sustainable Living Festival.

And the New Economy Network Australia.

Oh, and the Apple proposal at Melbourne’s Federation Square has since been canned. The Victorian government is currently asking for public input on what happens next.

Join us at our first live conversation event in Perth, on Monday the 23rd of September at The Platform.



The System, by the Public Opinion Afro Orchestra.

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