The Return of Sharing Cities

Understanding the notion of owner-ship is crucial when trying to grasp the specific nature of sharing in Central-Eastern European cities

Street scene

We shouldn’t wait to slowly build up sharing in cities or for “better times” because the creative momentum necessary for change is here today.


Article by Magdalena Kubecka

It’s one of the earliest lessons we are all taught, it guides many of our moral consciences throughout our lives, and although the practise of sharing is as old as the hills, it cannot be said to have auniform configuration. It has been part of the natural behaviour of collective living where inhabitants have ways, on purpose and by accident. While in some regions engaged in the practice both in formal and informal sharing is essential and happens automatically, in others it is a trend that needs to be constantly promoted and practices maintained. Because of their complexity,density and human diversity, cities are playing aparticularly important role in the development of the sharing economy because they depend so heavily on the communal distribution of space, goods, services and ideas. Today, cities are facing such problems as a lack of basic resources and an increase of economic inequalityon the one hand, and the overflow of garbage and general waste on the other. Therefore, the idea of sharing has become crucial to meet these challenges.

The popularity of initiatives focused on implementing different ways of sharing is growing.Some cities such as Amsterdam, Seoul and London have introduced action plans to popularize the practice. Others, such as Portland, Barcelona and Melbourne are supporting more bottom-up initiatives based on the building of efficient policies.

Above all, communication technologies have allowed sharing to work on much larger scales than previously possible. Through online platforms, you can share anything from household items to your car not only with your neighbours but also with someone living further afield in the city or even elsewhere in the world. People are engaged with this philosophy because they are assuming that there are others willing to share and pay it back.




Magdalena Kubecka – a researcher, a placemaker and an educator based in Warsaw.


Adopted text from Magazyn Miasta / Cities Magazine vol. 1

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