Providing tools and support to community members to create local initiatives that build local capacity and leadership, increase environmental sustainability, and foster greater livability and vitality.

The Emerging Sharing Economy

It’s one of the first things we learn as kids: how to share.

But this practice usually fades as we become adults. Our houses become filled with our own “stuff.” Garages, attics, basements, and closets transform into cluttered warehouses. When we need something, whether it’s a chainsaw or a roasting rack, our first thought is to go out and buy it. But why get it new when our neighbor down the street has one we can borrow?

Sharing implies a different approach to ownership of the goods, services, skills, and talents that abound in a community. Through sharing systems, we can get the utility out of goods and services without the burden of ownership—and in ways that help build community, clear clutter, and allow for more equitable access to resources. The “access-over-ownership” model frees us from having to make, buy, and consume ever more stuff, saving our pocketbooks and reducing our environmental impact.

Today, a powerful sharing economy is emerging across the United States and around the world. Building on age-old roots but taking advantage of new online networks, innovative approaches to “collaborative consumption” are being developed within communities and on the Web to help people share goods and services more easily.

In these pages, New Dream invites you to explore our action ideas, fun videos, and useful tips to help you create new sharing opportunities in your community!

Did You Know....

  • Many of the things we own sit unused for most of the year. For example, the average American uses his or her car only 8 percent of the time, while the average power drill is used only 6 to 13 minutes in its lifetime.
  • To house our “stuff,” Americans spend $22 billion per year on 2.4 billion square feet of self storage.
  • Sharing is a growing trend. Worldwide, some 2.2 million bike-sharing trips are taken each month, while more than 3 million people from 235 countries have “couch-surfed ” through home and apartment sharing.
  • The sharing economy is now a $110 billion-plus market, according to expert and advocate Rachel Botsman