Amsterdam has created dozens of new digital platforms encouraging citizens to participate in the sharing economy – and use it for social good.
An app called ParkFlyRent leases out cars parked by holidaymakers at Schiphol airport. Instead of the cars sitting idle for weeks, they are rented out and a portion of the income is handed to the owners. An app called Djeepo finds private storage spaces (basements, attic and spare rooms) for those needing extra room for their belongings.
Konnektid allows users to share skills like guitar playing or foreign languages. We Helpen gives details of voluntary work available in the city’s neighbourhoods. An app called Camptoo allows people to rent privately owned motorhomes, which are usually only used 4-5 times a year. Abel connects drivers with passengers who are going in the same direction.
“We want to truly make living in the city a shared experience”
‘We wanted to truly make living in the city a shared experience,’ explained Harmen van Sprang, one of the organisers of Amsterdam’s sharing economy initiative. ‘We want people to feel like they have a connection not just with the city, but to each other as well.’
The apps lift citizens into the sharing economy and remind them that sustainability is an in-built motive. As part of a concerted effort to reduce waste and remove one percent of all cars from roads in Europe, an app called SnappCar allows users to rent out their vehicles, monetising transport which sits unused 90% of the time. Another app called MyWheels allows users to rent a car from somewhere immediately in their neighbourhood.
The sharing extends to other services like food and drink. Over a lunch of carrot soup, bread and cheese at her home in the neighbourhood of Jordaan, an amateur cook called Caro van der Meulen describes a platform called AirDnD (Drink and Dine) which offers food in private homes prepared by around 2,000 amateur chefs. Diners can pop into a private kitchen to eat home-cooked food.
‘I enjoy cooking and I enjoy meeting people” said Meulen. ‘I think for people for whom cooking is a hobby, or who don’t want to take the risk of running a restaurant, this is a unique solution. The people who come to eat are regulars and curious people who have heard about AirDnD. I think it helps with the community experience.’
“We are trying to increase social capital”
Amsterdam’s sharing economy initiative is a move away from traditional monetised platforms like Airbnb and Uber. An app called Home Exchange, for instance, asks users to upload pictures and descriptions of their homes. Users can then swap homes for short breaks or longer holidays. The direct swap encourages a level of trust which doesn’t exist on platforms like Airbnb.
From the public sector’s point of view, sharing and collaboration are valuable tools in the drive towards achieving a sustainable and friendly city. ‘We are trying to increase social capital, and sharing is a good thing,’ says Nanette Schippers, program manager, sharing economy for innovation office, at the government of Amsterdam.
She continued: ‘Everything indicates that people continue sharing because of a whole bunch of other reasons such as a sustainable society. Now, we know who is willing to share – those between the ages of 20 and 45 are more likely to share. But our role is to expand this group to include low income groups and the elderly. We want a pro-active, open attitude which understands the sharing initiative and helps everyone.’
Continue reading the Article: Forget Uber, Amsterdam is showing how to use the sharing economy for good | The Huffington Post by Alex Starritt, April 18, 2017