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Sharing Cities: A Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities
     

Sharing Cities: A Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities

by Duncan McLaren
 

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The future of humanity is urban, and the nature of urban space enables, and necessitates, sharing — of resources, goods and services, experiences. Yet traditional forms of sharing have been undermined in modern cities by social fragmentation and commercialization of the public realm. In Sharing Cities, Duncan McLaren and Julian Agyeman argue that the

Overview

The future of humanity is urban, and the nature of urban space enables, and necessitates, sharing — of resources, goods and services, experiences. Yet traditional forms of sharing have been undermined in modern cities by social fragmentation and commercialization of the public realm. In Sharing Cities, Duncan McLaren and Julian Agyeman argue that the intersection of cities' highly networked physical space with new digital technologies and new mediated forms of sharing offers cities the opportunity to connect smart technology to justice, solidarity, and sustainability. McLaren and Agyeman explore the opportunities and risks for sustainability, solidarity, and justice in the changing nature of sharing.

McLaren and Agyeman propose a new "sharing paradigm," which goes beyond the faddish "sharing economy" — seen in such ventures as Uber and TaskRabbit — to envision models of sharing that are not always commercial but also communal, encouraging trust and collaboration. Detailed case studies of San Francisco, Seoul, Copenhagen, Medellín, Amsterdam, and Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) contextualize the authors' discussions of collaborative consumption and production; the shared public realm, both physical and virtual; the design of sharing to enhance equity and justice; and the prospects for scaling up the sharing paradigm though city governance. They show how sharing could shift values and norms, enable civic engagement and political activism, and rebuild a shared urban commons. Their case for sharing and solidarity offers a powerful alternative for urban futures to conventional "race-to-the-bottom" narratives of competition, enclosure, and division.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/12/2015
This policy manual from McLaren, an environmental researcher and consultant, and Agyeman, a professor of urban and environmental policy and planning, is only partially successful in demonstrating that humanity’s future lies in cities that prioritize sharing. The authors believe that humans are natural sharers and that this inclination will enable the cities of tomorrow to be more equitable places to live and work in. The utopianism of their vision is established early on, when they quote, with favor, the ex-mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, describing his ideal urban environment as one “where even the rich ride buses.” Later they cite, as an example of government transparency, a policy by Seoul’s Mayor Park Won-Soon of sharing nonfinal versions of policy documents, without any discussion of potential downsides. The book gives short shrift to the daunting political obstacles to transforming the U.S. into a society where all citizens are paid a “basic income” “regardless of whether they are in work.” Even sympathetic readers may still find themselves wondering how practical the authors’ goals are. Those interested in a radical reenvisioning of American society will find some creative ideas, but no legible road map for reaching them. (Dec.)
From the Publisher

Named one of Nature's "Books and Arts" blog as a top
20 for 2015.

The MIT Press

Stanford Social Innovation Review
Sharing Cities is a wake-up call to policy makers, businesspeople, and community leaders: There has never been a better — or more urgent — time to build a shared urban future.

Nature
In Sharing Cities, environmental consultant Duncan McLaren and urban-policy scholar Julian Agyeman lay out, with impressive depth, clarity and wisdom, a comprehensive prescription for a sharing paradigm….bottom-up ventures that are digital or based in communities, rather than commercial.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262029728
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
11/27/2015
Series:
Urban and Industrial Environments
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
483,874
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Shareable
As pioneers of the sharing cities movement, Duncan McLaren and Julian Agyeman have done us a great service by articulating a vision which is human centered, hopeful, as well as practical. They show us through impeccable scholarship and illuminating case studies that sharing cities are not only one of the best opportunities to address inequality and global warming, but also that we're already half way there.

Rachel Botsman
Sharing Cities is a comprehensive and thoughtful guide to how the principles of the sharing economy will affect the spaces where we live, work, and play. If you want to understand the possibilities and challenges of the sharing paradigm to transform the way cities are designed, read this book.

Janelle Orsi
This is a remarkably comprehensive overview of many dimensions of the sharing movement and the sharing economy. While surveying diverse perspectives and critiques, the authors provide a clear social and economic justice lens. Every mayor, city policymaker, and citizen changemaker should read this book's case studies, get ideas, and implement them!

Juliet B. Schor
McLaren and Agyeman have produced an impressively far-reaching, global account of sharing initiatives rooted by concern for social justice and human connection. With its unique urban focus this work is a vital contribution for those in the field as well as an ideal undergraduate text.

Brent Toderian
There are relatively few books out there that really introduce a new paradigm for cities, a new lens through which to understand what urban sustainability could look like. This book does that, and rather than just sharing theory, it shares the story of real cities successfully making the sharing city real.

Ayona Datta
Sharing Cities imagines a new radical politics of solidarity that goes much beyond the current neoliberal rhetoric of a sharing economy. Its breadth and scope and the range of case studies used to illustrate the argument on a new sharing paradigm are impressive and thought-provoking. Sharing Cities is sure to provoke reflection and action within academic, policy, and civil society circles in times to come.

Mark Watts
In C40 we know that the most successful cities of the future will be those that are best able to learn from their peers. Sharing Cities cogently demonstrates that collaboration within cities is equally critical.

Meet the Author

Duncan McLaren, former Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, is Director of McLaren Environmental Research and Consultancy. Julian Agyeman is Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. He is the coeditor of Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World (MIT Press) and other books.

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