A sustainable society is one in which we choose positive behaviours that make us feel happier, more connected and more disposed to help others. Sharing is one such activity and it has the benefit that, as well as being a positive action that carries with it intrinsic appeal, it can also support a society that buys, consumes and wastes less as a by-product. This report, part of the work of the Sustainable Society Network, offers insights from three linked studies into sharing practices and concludes with design recommendations for different kinds of sustainability based on sharing. We look at three contexts: grass-roots initiatives within walking distance of a project researcher’s home; sharing activities undertaken by researchers’ Facebook ‘friends’; and what a range of digital service producers are making to support sharing across the internet. In this way, we are able to compare sharing in ordinary life, as it happens among committed volunteers in small organisations; for digitally-active individuals; and in the hands of digital entrepreneurs. We hold these contexts up to consideration against different understandings of sustainability to explore the impact of different kinds of design on factors such as social, environmental and economic viability and resourcefulness. So it seems an apt time to ask what kind of economy is being promoted by the sharing economy and how this tallies with what we found on the ground.
Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, thinkers ++
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