It's the end of the year, time to look back at the previous 12 months and survey both the damage and progress that we have made. Top 10 (or 12 or 20) lists come in awfully handy for summing up the bigger picture with a couple handfuls of highlights. Here are some of the more shareable summations.

Design — whether urban, product, landscape, or other — has become a super-hot area of development in the sharing economy. Thankfully, Fast Company's Co.EXIST blog has culled the 14 top stories of 2012 in this arena. The focal points range from smart water filters and wood stoves to street art and 3D printers.

The Greenway Smart Stove was created by students in India as a safer option for families in developing nations.

Cities are another hugely important component of the sharing economy and all that it encompasses. Once again, we look to Co.EXIST for the top 15 stories of the year. Among the articles are "The Top 10 Smartest Cities in America" and "Removing Streets Is the Only Way to Reclaim Open Space in Cities."

Getting right down to the heart of the matter, Co.EXIST also did a wrap up of the top eight collaborative consumption stories. Business and entrepreneurship were the common threads among the pieces, with a solid bias toward car-sharing ventures like ZImride, Getaround, Sidecar, and Relay Rides. However, yerdle also made the list. Let's hope 2013 brings at least a baker's dozen of noteworthy articles.

Not to be outdone, gathers the 10 Most Popular Open Government Posts of 2012. On a universal scale, it seems that open source software contributed to NASA's Mars rover project. Closer to home, open source communities and open government policies are cropping up all over the place.

Open education gained a lot of traction in 2012, as well. California passed open textbook legislation, Hampshire College offered free software to incoming students, and a whole slew of other open education projects found their way into the world. The future definitely looks bright for learning.

Life, in general, became far more shareable thanks to myriad advances in open source projects across the span of 2012. Gaming, music, and maps are but three of the topics found worthy of inclusion in their review.

At the intersection of cities and open source, we find "The Best Open Data Releases of 2012" courtesy of The Atlantic Cities blog. Data tracking tools opened access to a wide range of information, including crime in Philadelphia, public transit in Atlanta, green rooftops in Chicago, and tsunami sirens in Honolulu.

Because they know one of the greatest information-sharing tools when they see one, The Atlantic Cities drilled down a step further to draw 2012's Year in Maps. At the top of the list is Climate Central's Surging Seas operation which tracked storm surge during Hurricane Sandy. Other entries showcased voting, bombs, police profiling, and racial segregation.

Kelly McCartney


Kelly McCartney |

Having won prestigious literary competitions in both grade school and junior high, I attended college with a Scripps Howard Foundation scholarship, earned a BA in Journalism, and interned at Entertainment

Things I share: I seek. I write. I think. I roam. I listen. I care. I wonder. I help. I flirt. I try. I dream. I grow.