I was only just beginning to think about fast fashion and how strange it was that clothes appeared to be getting cheaper while the rest of life grew more expensive.
Growing cities across the US and Canada are grappling with the challenges of displacement and affordability in their housing markets, and many of them are looking to Cascadia’s innovative cities for answers. Portland, the smallest of Cascadia’s three major metropolitan areas, has perhaps one of its biggest and best ideas: the “residential infill project.”
So, what’s in the Rose City’s innovative plan? First, let’s take a closer look at the city’s growing affordability problem.
The rapid spread of out-of-reach home prices in Portland
What would it take to convert Twitter Inc. into a user-owned cooperative? In September, after news broke that the company was in talks with potential buyers, Nathan Schneider, scholar in residence of media studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, penned an op-ed in The Guardian inviting readers to conceptualize the idea. He wrote:
For seniors who want to age in a supportive community environment, cohousing is an exciting alternative to traditional options such as retirement homes and assisted living centers. In senior cohousing spaces, rather than relying on administrators, people rely on each other to lend a hand when needed and provide much-needed social engagement.
In 2014, the city of Amsterdam and Airbnb signed an agreement that allowed Amsterdammers to share their residence for up to 60 days a year. It was one of the first city policies that allowed homesharing on a limited basis while discouraging the conversion of housing into illegal hotels thereby contributing to rising housing costs.
It's hard to convey what the sharing movement is about without describing how it looks in practice. No matter how well you lay out its basic principles, you need concrete examples and visual imagery to help people reach that aha moment.
What would it take to move from planetary imbalance into a state of sustained health and healing?
The SHARECITY100 is an interactive database of food sharing activities in 100 cities around the world created by the SHARECITY research team. From food banks and community gardens, to meal-sharing platforms and secret restaurants, it catalogues a variety of initiatives, detailing what is shared, how it is shared, and how the sharing is organised. This is all communicated by a set of icons, which you can check out here.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has," said Margaret Mead. It's one of our favorite quotes here at Shareable because it's a great reminder that working together towards a common goal is one of the most fulfilling things we can do.
Old McDonald of "E-I-E-I-O" fame would feel right at home on Essex Farm, a 600-acre spread in upstate New York where the future of American agriculture is being radically reconceived.
For the past 60 years, farmers have been coerced by agribusinesses and federal policies to become ever more specialized. So it’s surprising to walk through a modern farmyard and hear a moo-moo here and an oink-oink there, and see 50 different kinds of vegetables growing in the fields.
Participatory budgeting is becoming increasingly popular, with more than 1,500 programs worldwide. The concept is simple: People submit ideas for what government should spend a portion of its money on and then vote on the best ideas. Until now, however, the process has been limited to cities and regions. Recently, Portugal became the first county to instate a nationwide participatory budgeting (PB) process with Orçamento Participativo Portugal.
The Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), a nonprofit policy research group in Paris, France, recently published two quick-take issue briefs and a longer analysis that spotlights the potential of the sharing economy. These reports explore how goods-exchange networks, crowdsourcing, and collaborative mobility can contribute to and/or complicate municipal, regional, and national sustainable development goals.
Looking for some thoughtful, solutions-oriented reading material right about now? We've rounded up 20 of our favorite new books on cities, social change, food systems, platform cooperatives, design, and more.
There are now more than 50,000 registered Little Free Libraries around the world.
Seoul's Mayor Park Won-soon, fourth from left, hand-in-hand with seven other mayors after signing joint declaration to develop sharing cities together.
Lafayette Library and Learning Center. Photo: Steven Falk, Lafayette city manager.
Attendees of the Platform Cooperativism Consortium launch event. Photo credit: Christopher Chavez