Life in the urban context is often described as lacking a sense of community; it’s not uncommon for people who live in cities to feel disconnected from the people who live right next door. City planners and citizens alike are recognizing that along with sustainable living, fostering community living is just as important to the social fabric of vibrant cities.
Interestingly, an age-old practice is being used with increasing frequency to foster both sustainability and community building in cities: resource sharing.
The City of Vancouver, as part of its Greenest City 2020 initiative, has sponsored The Sharing Project, which has been researching what Vancouverites want to share in each neighbourhood to test the application of a city wide Collaborative Economy.
Successful, grassroots ventures such as the Vancouver Tool Library and Hackspace promote the sharing of tools and workspaces, generating interactions and collaborations between people that in turn encourage sustainability, innovation and cross pollination of ideas. Both are membership-based co-operatives that provide access to resources that may otherwise be unaffordable or unavailable to city dwellers.
Sharing – our resources, our spaces, our tools, our books, our cars, and our ideas – reduces consumption and provides cost savings, but more importantly, empowers and revitalizes communities by solidifying the bonds that keep them together.
The need for global sharing initiatives is more important today than ever. What ideas for new community sharing initiatives do you have?
[Top Image: Image courtesy Vancouver Tool Library]