At the beginning of 2014, Time named collaborative consumption as one of the “10 ideas that will change the world.” Collaborative consumption describes a shift in consumer values, from ownership to access. Together, communities and even entire cities are using less by renting, sharing, swapping and bartering products on a scale never experienced before. OneFineStay, for example, gives people the chance to stay in someone’s house while they’re away, whilst Freecycle allows us to exchange unwanted goods for free. These are just two examples of how collaborative consumption is transforming the way we live.
Recently on a weekend away in Amsterdam, I came across an intriguing statement: “Amsterdam, Europe’s most sharable city.” My assumption was that it was something to do with social media. But wandering around the beautiful city it became quite apparent that that’s not what it was promoting. Amsterdam is a unique city; there are few cars for starters, people either cycle or use public transport and everyone encourages recycling. Seeing the poster again, I wrote down its link, Share.nl. The site, created in the Netherlands, is calling for the entire country to become a ‘collaborative’ economy.