Q&A: The Sharing Project explores Vancouver’s sharing potential
Meet Gala. She’s in charge of community engagement for a newly launched initiative focusing on a subject near and dear to our hearts, called The Sharing Project.
As a major sponsor of this fascinating endeavour investigating Vancouver’s sharing potential, Modo’s marketing director Hilary Henegar invited Gala Milne to do a little Q&A to help acquaint our members with something likely to excite their imaginations.
Hilary: What’s the Sharing Project?
Gala: The Sharing Project is a research project aimed at facilitating more social connection while empowering Vancouverites to kickstart the sharing economy in their own communities. The project has garnered support from sharing organizations across the city including Vancity, The Hive, Terminal City Glass Cooperative, Seedstock community currency and Modo, to name a few! Our small but mighty team is led by Chris Diplock, co-founder of the Vancouver Tool Library.
Through focus groups, interviews and surveys, we want to empower citizens, shape policy and identify new opportunities for sharing in Vancouver. Our public survey launches mid-April and we’re currently inviting more people to be part of the project through our crowdfunding campaign: igg.me/at/thesharingproject
Why focus on sharing?
Although sharing is one of the most basic human interactions, somewhere along the way it seemed to have lost its cultural caché. We’re focussing research around Vancouver’s sharing economy to help guide entrepreneurs, grantees and government interested in developing the collaborative consumption model of business in Vancouver. This area has massive potential growth in the near future. The shift from ownership to access is gaining recognition globally and providing grounds for a more fulfilling and sustainable quality of life.
Rachel Botsman has become a kind of hero for the movement and gives a great TED talk on the topic.
At The Sharing Project, we’re excited to see initiatives that subscribe to these values succeed in Vancouver.
What is the impact of sharing to the local economy?
When a community shares more, it consumes less and connects more. For example, by preventing the purchase of just one 10-pound circular saw, the Vancouver Tool Library can prevent the production of up to 320 pounds of waste. In a 2011 survey to the VTL’s members, respondents identified the cost savings, community support, space saving and social interaction as major reasons to support a lending institution.
What are some examples of Vancouver groups facilitating sharing among neighbours?
We’re lucky to live in a city that has incorporated sharing to its business, cooperative and non-profit communities in creative ways. New initiatives like TradeSchool Vancouver for community-sourced skill sharing exist alongside neighbourhood strongholds like City Farmer, Viking Sailing Club and recent innovations like the St. George Library.
Simply put, there’s a lot going on with sharing in Vancouver. We see shared home and workspace at The Hive and Vancouver Cohousing; creative spaces put to use with Terminal City Glass Co-op, Vancouver Hack Space and the Purple Thistle; gardening space being shared through Fresh Roots Urban Farm; and people learning tech skills at Free Geek.
What other cities or communities inspire you?
There are a lot of inspiring communities just south of the border along the West Coast. San Francisco has been extremely inspiring for their work blending sharing and technological platforms to help promote the collaborative economy through news groups like Shareable.net and projects like the Mending Library.
Additionally, we see the neighbourhood-based model of Portland as a huge inspiration to our project. Portland’s neighbourhoods each act autonomously to help spread the sharing of agricultural space, tool lending and transportation sharing. Projects like City Repair are particularly inspiring, as they break down the picket fence and build community resilience.
Tell us about the The Sharing Project’s crowdfunding campaign. What will the money be used for?
The Sharing Project has partnered with citywide organizations to give you a taste of what Vancouver has to share. When you back our crowdfunding campaign, you can receive prizes like a $100 carsharing credit through Modo, five days at The HiVe, a private workshop from Terminal City Glass Co-op, and a personal presentation of The Sharing Project from lead researcher Chris Diplock – and more!
The funds we raise will allow us to:
- Create and implement an interactive public engagement website;
- Mobilize citizens and members of the sharing community across Vancouver to participate in our open survey;
- Hire the best data analyst to help summarize our research; and
- Prepare a groundbreaking hyper-regional report on opportunities for Vancouver’s sharing economy
Thanks for sharing, Gala!
Join Modo in supporting The Sharing Project’s work: visit the crowdfunding campaign page, watch the video, check out the perks being offered for donating, and contribute as much or as little as you like.
As well, you can meet Chris and Gala and learn more about the research their doing when you stop by Modo’s booth at the Winter Farmers Market at Nat Bailey Stadium on April 6, 2013, where we’ll be sharing a booth with other sharing organizations, including The Sharing Project, as well as the Vancouver Tool Library and Trade School Vancouver.
Along with workshops, interactive displays and a photo booth, each organization will offer info for getting involved and accessing their shared services and resources. See you there!
This research project is being lead by Collective Research Group. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.