Social sustainability as well as saving resources and emissions are effects that are often associated with the sharing economy. Less proprietary consumption patterns and more intensive and prolonged use of products and means of production may be associated with more collaborative ways of life and business. The sharing economy has seen a boom, especially as a result of the increasing digitalisation. Large platform providers such as Uber or Airbnb benefit from rapid growth, but often at the expense of sustainability. By contrast, forms of a sustainable sharing economy are currently emerging, especially in the context of urban transformation processes. This creates the potential for sharing approaches that take into account social, environmental and economic factors in the development of sustainable cities.
From this coupled perspective, the overarching research question arises as to how the upscaling of sustainable sharing approaches in the urban context can be promoted, which social-ecological effects are to be expected and how different strategies can be evaluated from a socio-ecological transformation perspective. It is assumed that, in addition to digitally networked and efficient platform structures and usage patterns, "sharing" above all means comprehensive cultural change. Therefore, a combination of economic and social science analysis with ecological and social impact assessment approaches is needed to understand the potential and dynamics of an urban sharing society.
In the junior research group, the potentials of the sharing economy are examined in the context of an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research design along three approaches (lifestyles, corporate strategies, policy instruments) and on three levels of analysis:
The Wuppertal Institute is dedicated to model ecological potentials.
For the transfer to practice, a guide will be developed for cities to develop strategies on the way to an Urban Sharing Society, information materials for citizens and workshop formats for companies developed.