How municipalities self-govern in the sharing economy

Image from IIIEE at Lund University YouTube

Two weeks ago we introduced the video series The roles of city governments in the sharing economy. Last week’s episode: Regulating the sharing economy in cities discussed how the municipalities of Amsterdam, Berlin, Gothenburg, London, Malmö and San Francisco govern the establishment and operation of sharing economy organisations through regulatory tools such as laws, taxes, bans and policies. City governments use these tools to constrain the sharing economy and/or to help it grow. 

While the regulating mechanism is perhaps the most common way to govern the sharing economy in cities, my research team and I argue that there are at least four other governance mechanisms that are important to consider. One of these mechanisms is ‘self-governing,’ which is presented and explained in the next episode “Self-governing the sharing economy by municipalities”

Self-governing refers to the capacity of municipalities to govern their own activities. There are at least three roles of municipalities that exemplify this mechanism: the city as a consumer, the city as a sharer and the city as a data user. 

The ‘city as a consumer’ is the role when municipalities adopt urban sharing practices in their own operations, for example, through municipal public procurement. The ‘city as a sharer’ is the role when municipal units offer assets owned by them for shared use by other municipal units or organisations. The ‘city as a data user’ is an increasingly important role in the relationship between municipalities and sharing economy organisations. For example, data about how people are moving around in the city can help city governments combat congestion and pollution. 

To learn more on how the cities of Amsterdam, Gothenburg, London, Malmö and San Francisco self-govern the sharing economy and to get concrete examples from these cities watch “The Roles of City Governments in the Sharing Economy – Self-governing” here:

Stay tuned for the next film in the series, which will discuss the governance mechanism of ‘providing’ or how municipalities support or constrain the development of sharing economy organisations by providing or withholding practical, material and infrastructural means. 


These films are based on the research done in two research projects: Sharing and the City (funded by Swedish Research Council Formas) and Urban Sharing research programme, which has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 771872). The films are a part of the Sharing Cities Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) developed at the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE), Lund University, Sweden, and funded through the Sharing Cities Sweden project.

Yuliya Voytenko Palgan


Yuliya Voytenko Palgan

Dr Yuliya Voytenko Palgan is a researcher and an Associate Professor in Sustainable Development at the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE), Lund University, Sweden. She has over