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Sharing Communities - Share Adelaide


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Sharing Communities introduces audiences to key sharing/collaborative movement concepts and approaches, and offers real-world examples of peer-to-peer initiatives, as well as case studies of sharing in Adelaide, South Australia - and what else could be...

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Sharing Communities - Share Adelaide

  1. 1. One of my favourite stories of sharing in Adelaide is Lost Dogs, which I founded in late 2010 and which has been built by others into an amazing public service, reuniting lost pets with owners. Digital technology is enabling people to connect, declare their common intention to produce something, and create it. The Lost Dogs crew did not need to ask for permission, they just did it and now local authorities, animal shelters, vets use the page as well as the public.
  2. 2. This is part of a larger story of the reorientation of society which is shifting from centralised, top down structures to distributed, peer-to-peer networks. Sharing is not new – it’s something communities have always done, between groups of people we trust. In the 21st century, with widespread use of the internet and smart phones, these traditional ways have been augmented with digital, expanding our ‘distributed network’ ie. our pool of possible sharers.
  3. 3. ShareNSave is a platform to map community sharing assets, developed by Zero Waste SA, State government, and launched in 2013 as ‘digital public infrastructure’ – it maps the known, but there is still a lot of unknown. It maps groups, but not individual offers and needs. It maps what is, but it does not map intent. ShareNSave is now ‘open source’ software which means others can adapt it, and share any new elements they build back into the community of users.
  4. 4. Sharing is a positive narrative, and is about building on existing assets. It’s often a habit to start with diagnosing a problem, then looking for a solution. Asset based approaches ask ‘what are we already doing that is working, and how can we do more of it?’ rather than ‘what is lacking in, or wrong with, this community?’
  5. 5. The 'sharing economy‘ we hear about, the one that is getting all the media airtime (rent your life out, make money from your unused stuff, space, time), is more accurately the ‘on demand’ economy - it is monetised transaction and makes the status quo more efficient, but in terms of power, it is not transformational, and not inclusive of those who do not have assets to rent out. Here are some examples of sharing that happen in Adelaide right now…
  6. 6. …in relation to food – some informal sharing (ShareNSave could tell them where their local food swap is!) and guerilla gardening in Port Adelaide. Community sharing may or may not be monetised; the key difference between sharing and ‘platform capitalism’ is whether it strengthens or weakens the commons, and who owns it? Airbnb and Uber do not own a single hotel room or car, but they are capturing revenues from all over the world.
  7. 7. RipeNear Me is a platform developed in Adelaide, which allows both swapping and sharing, and buying and selling, of home grown produce. When people are able to see what they can access around them, they realise that they can tap into these often free systems to offer what they have and get what they need, reducing waste and saving money. It could also encourage more people to grow some of their own food.
  8. 8. What could we do more of in relation to sharing and food? We have some community kitchens and cooking facilities shared when people do courses, but what if there was a kitchen in every neighbourhood, where shared meals were the norm? Assuming some agreed ground rules around preferences and costs, imagine if you cooked for fourteen people – but just one night a fortnight, and the rest of that time, the family could turn up and share a meal?
  9. 9. There are many other forms of sharing in Adelaide in addition to food. Here’s the Gibson Street Book Exchange at Bowden, and the Helicopter Park Library in North Adelaide, both of which are modelled on the ‘Little Free Library’ movement. These micro book exchange stations are cropping up in cities and towns around the world – like distributed mini libraries. There are other kinds of libraries in Adelaide and SA, including a number of toy lending libraries, and a couple of tool libraries…
  10. 10. …we also have a network of Men’s Sheds, which I see as a natural infrastructure for tool lending libraries and fixit clinics. This is Barry, from the William Kibby Veterans’ Shed at Glenelg North. Through sheds, those who have been isolated or gone through difficult times are now connected into a community, and also serving the community through making and repairing things for those in need.
  11. 11. If we can lend and share books, tools and toys, what other kinds of lending libraries could we envisage? How about a Creative Tool Library, one that loans out light kits, microphones, plotters and cameras instead of games and books, or shovels and chainsaws? What about a Kitchen Library, with seldom used appliances and gadgets? Sports and camping equipment?
  12. 12. We could have a network of FabLabs or Makerspaces, where people can get shared access to a range of tools and high end equipment they could not afford on their own, but also a community of skills and support. Adelaide already has one FabLab, or Fabrication Laboratory. What if we had one north, south, east and west of the city?
  13. 13. Mamabake is big batch baking, and was set up as a way to reclaim time for busy Mums. A group gets together and makes a range of dishes which they divide into family portions and freeze. Imagine being a new Mum or stay at home Mum, perhaps struggling with doing it all on your own, or feeling socially disconnected, and being able to turn the nightly task of cooking for the family into a social occasion, freeing up even a few nights during the week.
  14. 14. Though Mamabake fosters sharing through social connection, and sharing by cooking in bulk is likely to lead to less food waste, that’s not its rationale, and that’s not primarily why it appeals – it makes life easier and addresses a ‘pain point’ of time pressure.
  15. 15. How can we collaborate to meet our own energy needs? In Australia, we have community funded renewable energy through CORENA (Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network), who have been doing some great work essentially crowdfunding renewable energy projects from communities who want to see them happen. A solar project at the Gawler Community House is one of those successfully funded and established.
  16. 16. Vandebron in the Netherlands takes this a step further – farmers who had wind turbines and surplus energy got together with neighbours, and they worked out a way to buy and sell renewable energy peer-to-peer. Vandebron is the answer to the question: ‘why can't I just buy energy directly from an independent source in my neighbourhood?’ Think about the implications of that. Utility companies are facing disruption as people produce and sell the energy they need, without the middleman.
  17. 17. Sharing isn’t just about that which fulfils material needs – its also about sharing skills and knowledge. Who knows how to set up a verge garden and deal with the council? Who knows how to use a 3D printer? Who knows how to set up the structure for a community energy association? ‘Asset mapping’ is a way of unearthing the passions, skills and knowledge that are in any group of people – all of a sudden ‘we don’t have the resources’ seems to not be an insurmountable barrier.
  18. 18. The power of sharing is not in online platforms alone, but in bringing people together, and sharing stories of what works. Sharing Cities Network has been established to exchange knowledge and how- to with other cities around the world. People in Adelaide can see that our city’s sharing initiatives are part of a broader movement that is national and global.
  19. 19. I set up Share Adelaide, the original hub for all things sharing for Adelaide, in 2012. It’s where you can stay in touch with local sharing news and also ideas from around the world, as well as posting stories and links of things you’ve heard about that you think others could be interested in.
  20. 20. alone, we can do so little together we can do so much Helen Keller
  21. 21. Sharing can make life easier and more fun, but its also a very practical response to financial, time and resource pressures. We can build more resilient, connected communities, save money, and use less resources by better sharing what we already have.