Shared Spaces include the sharing of living space for short-term rentals (e.g., Airbnb), storage, and parking, as well as permanent housing options such as cooperatives, co-living and cohousing. There are also co-working sites that allow independent workers or employees (while traveling) to share workspaces, and office services and equipment.
Key recommendations to advance urban sustainability:
Thoughtfully regulate short-term rentals, especially in communities with low vacancy rates, in order to safeguard equity and housing affordability, and to mitigate possible impacts on neighbours, community character, and city resources.
Support cooperative housing directly or by lobbying higher levels of government, and/or by changing local legislation.
Encourage cohousing that locates near transit, emphasizes reducing waste and carbon emissions, and cultivates pro-sustainability behaviours of residents.
Promote financial instruments that permit co-ownership.
Explore how to fuse co-working with libraries and business incubators, prioritizing those whose client businesses show transformative sustainability potential.
What to watch out for:
The rebound effect - by providing cheaper accommodation, short-term rentals may induce more flying and related consumption, increasing carbon emissions; some people are purchasing accommodations for the sole purpose of earning income through short-term rentals.
The impact of short-term rentals on reducing affordable housing supply in neighbourhoods with low vacancy rates.
Shared personal storage and parking spaces that offer little or even negative sustainability gains by supporting accumulation of goods and greater car use.
Shared space options like co-living, which may not live up to their sustainability promise; monitoring and evaluation is required here.
Intervening in areas of the Sharing Economy that are thriving without government support unless there is specific public good purpose, e.g., co-working.
Thank you to The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation for supporting this roadmap and project as part of Cities for People. The LGSE roadmap was developed and written by One Earth.