2,800 crowdsourcing and crowdfunding sites
The sharing economy has gotten off to a fast start in nearly all aspects, save for two related ones – figuring out how to work with insurers, and navigating around regulatory restrictions.
The peer-to-peer room rental service Airbnb, for instance, has run into obstacles in New York when a judge ruled that one of its customers had broken an ‘illegal hotel’ law. Three thousand miles away, car rental services Lyft, SideCar, and Uber also hit regulatory roadblocks, when the California Public Utilities Commission issued fines against them for “operating as passenger carriers without evidence of public liability and property damage insurance coverage.” That hiccup was settled, but just this Monday, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation served cease and desist letters to the three companies for operating as “unlicensed commercial transportation service[s].”
But, news isn’t all bad for these sharing economy companies and their peers. On Monday, mayors of several major U.S. cities co-sponsored a resolution “in support of policies for shareable cities.” Resolution No. 87 was reached at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which took place from Friday to Monday in Las Vegas.
The mayors of San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Boston, along with several other cities, co-sponsored the resolution; The Next Web reports that New York’s Michael Bloomberg was also a sponsor.
The resolution (which starts on page 240) states that “an emerging Sharing Economy is redefining the ways that goods and services are exchanged, valued and created amongst citizens by enabling affordable access as an alternative to ownership.” The mayors clearly recognize the value of companies tapping into the sharing economy, and say they:
urge support for making cities more shareable by (1) encouraging a better understanding of the Sharing Economy and its benefits to both the public and private sectors by creating more robust and standardized methods for measuring its impacts in cities; (2) creating local task forces to review and address regulations that may hinder participants in the Sharing Economy and proposing revisions that ensure public protection as well; and (3) playing an active role in making appropriate publicly owned assets available for maximum utilization by the general public through proven sharing mechanisms.
The resolution isn’t any sort of binding decision, meaning these are merely suggestions from mayors on how to best approach the new companies, and are nothing more than a morale boost, at least for now. Still, the fact that mayors of major cities (especially where these companies are running into regulatory hurdles) are ready to embrace the sharing economy is an encouraging sign.