With 2013 just around the corner, New Year’s resolutions are being scribbled down by the dozens. Maybe your resolutions include a commitment to healthier eating or more family time, kicking a bad habit or volunteering at a local nonprofit. Whatever your pleasure, the beginning of a new year is a fresh start. It feels like pure potential; like anything is possible.
As the sharing economy picks up momentum, its reach has become global. In cities and towns around the world, people are creating ways to share everything from baby clothes to boats, hardware to vacation homes. There are also groups emerging that consciously identify with the big-picture sharing movement. These groups focus on education, action and community-building, and advocate for a cultural shift toward widespread sharing.
The sharing economy is in a regulatory crisis. Airbnb’s hotel tax issues, the cease and desist orders slapped on peer mobility apps Sidecar and Lyft, and other brushes with the law have catalyzed a flurry of organizing and dialogue about sharing economy regulation.
Since the financial collapse began in 2008,Wall Street bankers’ claims to being the smartest guys in the room—hard-working innovators with billion dollar ideas and the will to execute them—have been proven all too right. When it comes to stealing the accumulated wealth of the American people, no group in living memory has proven to be so ceaselessly creative, so ruthlessly efficient at turning public wealth into private cash.
“Biking is definitely part of our strategy to attract and retain businesses in order to compete in a mobile world,” says Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak as we pedal across the Mississippi river on a bike-and-pedestrian bridge. “We want young talent to come here and stay. And good biking is one of the least expensive ways to send that message.”
Living in San Francisco, I've come to appreciate and almost expect my fellow residents' relentless drive for innovative use of urban spaces, to redefine what it means to live and interact with each other. Caused by an acute awareness of the role our wasteful western habits and a lack of imagination have played in creating uninspiring environments, there's a be-the-change-you-wish-to-see-in the-world DNA in our blood that leads us to embrace alternative ways for sharing space.
When I first came to Rome as a student, in the fall of 2009, I saw few bikes on the streets. It is not a city that I would call bike friendly, or even car friendly. The streets are cramped and cobbled, and while traffic controls exist in the center, even on wide and paved streets, congestion persists. Nevertheless, I bought a bicycle and tried to work my way through the city. But I decided that my life was more valuable, and put the bike aside. This spring I began biking again, and I still felt unsafe at times, but I could tell that the mood had changed. I soon discovered why.