Worldwide Cities Overview on Platform Economy Policies

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* Sharing Cities: A Worldwide Cities Overview on Platform Economy Policies with a focus on Barcelona. By Mayo Fuster Morell (ed.) et al. Dimmons Research Group, 2018.


"The research presented in the book was directed by Mayo Fuster Morell and developed by Dimmons research team, and supported by the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), Barcelona City Council, and European Commission with the European project DECODE: DEcentralised Citizens Owned Data Ecosystem (European Project no. 732546)"


"This book is organized into three sections.

Part one, “Sharing cities: Overview of platform economy policies” provides a chapter on public policy innovations at the field of platform economy, a chapter on policy reactions by cities worldwide, and, finally, a chapter on legal analysis of the challenges open up by the platform economy at current regulations and legal frames, with a focus on how far it has extended new forms of intellectual property.

The second part, “Qualities and models of platforms”, provide a multidisciplinary analysis and framework of the platform economy, in three chapters. First, an introduction to the whole section on qualities and models of platforms, and argumentation on the necessity to overcome current frameworks with a multidisciplinary perspective. Finally, it presents the democratic multidisciplinary balance of the platform economy, including an application of the commons balance in 10 cases from Barcelona.

Then, in the frame of a multidisciplinary analysis and state of the art, there are two chapters with disciplinary analysis of platform economy impacts: Inclusion and discrimination perspective, with a focus on gender, and environmental sustainability perspective.

The third part provides a focus on the Barcelona ecosystem: A first chapter presents the policies developed by Barcelona City Council; a second one, maps a sample of 100 cases providing empirical insights with an analysis of the sample on the base of the multidisciplinary framework to assess platforms qualities and differentiate models presented in the previous chapter Finally, there is a historical presentation of the cultural and development roots of the vibrant collaborative oriented ecosystem in the city."

PART I. Sharing cities: Overview of platform economy policies

Chapter I. Public innovation in platform economy policies

Platforms, policy labs, and challenges

3. Platforms

  • 3.1. ShareHub Seoul ............................................................ 34
  • 3.2. Oppla
  • 3.3. ShareNL - Amsterdam................................................. 37
  • 3.4. Decidim.......................................................................... 3
  • 3.5. Procomuns..................................................................... 39

4. Policy Labs

  • 4.1. MaRS Solutions Lab..................................................... 42
  • 4.2. Mind Lab (to be closed in 2018)................................ 44
  • 4.3. Other Policy Labs cases............................................... 46

Chapter II. Sharing Cities: Overview of public policies of platform economy

4. Collaborations among cities (tourism networks, Sharing Alliance, summits...).

Chapter III. A legal analysis of the platform economy

By Guido Smorto, University of Palermo & Marco Ciurcina, NEXA

PART II. Qualities and models of platforms

Chapter IV. Qualities of the different models of platforms

Chapter V. Inclusion and discrimination at the platform economy

A gender focus

Chapter VI. Environmental sustainability of the platform economy

PART III. Barcelona focus: The stage of sharing ecosystem and platform economy in Barcelona

Chapter VII. The Barcelona City Council with the local platform economy

By Álvaro Porro, Comissioner for Social Economy, Local Development and Consumption, Barcelona City Council

Chapter VIII. Barcelona sharing ecosystem: Analysis of 100 platforms and 10 paradigmatic cases

Chapter IX. Barcelona sharing ecosystem

A timeline


The Platform Economy

From the introduction, by Mayo Fuster Morell, Dimmons UOC:

"The platform economy (also known as collaborative platform economy or sharing economy) is used as a floating signifier for interactions among distributed groups of people supported by digital platforms that enable them to exchange (matching supply and demand), share and collaborate in the consumption and production of activities leveraging capital and goods assets, and labour.

It is growing rapidly and exponentially, creating great interest, and has become a top priority for governments around the globe.

However, it suffers from three main challenges:

1) platform economy occurs in a regulatory vacuum, with unsystematized policy reactions and uncertainty towards which policies may be more beneficial. Furthermore, collaborative practices are opening up a tremendous potential and opportunity for public innovation that is not being exploited.

2) Platform economy is creating high sustainability expectations for its potential to contribute to a sustainable development of society (Botsman & Rogers, 2010; Cohen & Kietzmann, 2014; Heinrichs, 2013), constituting a paradigmatic change (Rifkin, 2014). But it lacks a holistic framework for the assessment of its sustainability. Furthermore, the sustainable design of platform has considered questions of technological and economic aspects but has not integrated other sustainability relevant questions, such as environmental impact, gender and inclusion, or legal implications, lacking a proper multidisciplinary perspective to platform economy.

3) There is a confusion about the platforms which present themselves as collaborative while actually, they are not; and similar uncertainties and ambiguities associated with diverse models. The disruptive impact of the best known platform economy model, that of Unicorn extractionist corporation platforms like Uber and Airbnb, is provoking huge controversy (Codagnone et al., 2016).

Successful alternative and truly collaborative models exist, such as open commons, platform cooperativism and decentralized organizations based on a social economy and open knowledge, but these have received limited policy and research attention. Additionally, there is a lack of a classification system that helps to establish the difference between the different models. In sum, platform economy constitutes a paradigmatic change, but assuring a positive direction to this change requires that we target these three challenges in order to re-direct platform economy towards a sustainable future.

In order to contribute to address these challenges, this work primarily will provide an overview of current policy reactions and public innovations by cities and an analysis of the legal challenges platform economy open up. Second, the book will provide a quality balance of the platform economy. The quality balance is an analytical tool that helps to characterize the platforms, differentiate models by visualizing the democratic qualities of platform economy initiatives and provide insights of the sustainability implications of their design and performance from several perspectives. This commons balance considers the dimensions of governance, economic strategy, technological base, knowledge policies, and impacts and social responsibility towards the externalities of the platforms.

On the basis of the quality balance of platform economy, sharing or collaborative-oriented platform economy (as a type of platform economy) can be defined as a tendency, a set of qualities, and a modality of collaborative platform economy - regarding both the design and the performance of the process - characterized by a commons approach regarding the dimensions of governance, economic strategy, technological base, knowledge policies, and social responsibility of the externalizations impacts of the platforms.

In this regard, the commons platform economy is characterized by:

(1) favouring peer to peer relations —in contrast to the traditionally hierarchical command and contractual relationships detach from sociability, and mere mercantile exchange— and the involvement of the community of peers generating in the governance of the platform;

(2) it is based on value distribution and governance among the community of peers, and the profitability is not its main driving force;

(3) it developed over privacy aware public infrastructure, and results in the (generally) open access provision of commons resources that favour access, reproducibility and derivativeness; and finally

(4) the responsibility with the externalities generated by the process.

The design of the commons balance is informed and based on a multidisciplinary analysis and state of the art of the platform economy from an economic, environmental, gender and inclusion, legal and policy perspectives, and an empirical analysis of most prominent cases of commons collaborative economy, as well as the empirical analysis of the case of Barcelona’s commons collaborative economy ecosystem. The applicability of the commons balance will be illustrated with 10 cases of platform economy at Barcelona. In this regard, we provide firstan operationalization of the common balance, with a set of basic indicators applied to the 10 cases.

Third, the book provides a focus into Barcelona Case Study, regarding policies developed by the City Council by Álvaro Porro (Comissioner for Social Economy, Local Development and Consumption, Barcelona City Council) and a presentation of an analysis of the current stage of Barcelona sharing ecosystem and a contextualization of its historical roots."

See also: Typology of Policy Innovations To Regulate the Emerging Platform Economy

More information

About Dimmons

"Dimmons is a research group part of the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC). The central research line of Dimmons is linked to socio economical innovation, collaborative economy and commons. From this central line, the three main research areas of the group are economical development, public policies and collaborative methodologies. Dimmons research is based on combining rigor with frontair methodological innovation, action research, methodological pluralism and open knowledge." (