What, when, why, who and how is sharing?

In the ‘Resourceful sharing’ (JAVIST) project, sharing is used to co-develop the current teaching and innovation spaces with the key stakeholders. The development efforts contribute to advancing sharing in regional businesses and ecosystems. Sharing in the built environment has potential benefits in support of the sustainable development goals (SDGS), such as leading to innovation, efficiency, cost savings, collaboration and access to resources. To better understand sharing, here I will introduce the basic concepts of sharing in the built environment, including levels of sharing, what to share, when to share, why to share, who are involved, and how to organize sharing.

Levels of sharing

There are four levels of interaction and collaboration of sharing. The first level is no sharing, that is, no interaction and collaboration at all. The second level is invited sharing, which means one individual/group invites and offers some parts to share with others, while others only use sharing but do not provide anything. The third level is collaborative sharing. Everyone collaborates with each other by providing and using some shared parts, but there are still some parts are not shared. The final level is complete sharing, which is also the highest level of interaction and collaboration of sharing. All objects from different individuals/groups are shared with each other (Berg, 2019).

What to share?

When it comes to sharing in the built environment, it’s easy to first think of shared space. Shared space refers to the same spaces and facilities shared by people from various organizational backgrounds (could be independent individuals/groups/organizations/companies) (Brinkø, 2017). However, not only the physical spaces and facilities can be shared (functional sharing), but also the content of human experience (experiential sharing), such as working experience, thoughts, ideas, and knowledge. The sharing of physical objects have also been partially replaced by virtual and hybrid solutions even in the case of shared space (Lundgren, Kyrö & Jylhä, 2022).

When to share?

Sharing can happen at the same time (simultaneously) or at different times (continuously). Sharing can be in the form of a one-off transaction or the longitudinal access. Its duration can be short term or long term (Berg, 2019; Lundgren, Kyrö & Jylhä, 2022).

Why to share?

The motivations for sharing are varied and even opposite. First, sharing can be driven by prosocial motives, such as social connection, enhanced cooperation, chance encounters, and a sense of community, or by anonymous motives, which means sharing with strangers without the need to know each other. Sharing can also be for profit or non-profitable. From a political perspective, people can have a political motivation to share, such as some may see sharing as sustainable or anti-market, while others may not have a political motivation (Lundgren, Kyrö & Jylhä, 2022).

Who are involved?

Sharing can be shared to everyone, employees of the sharing partners, or individual/groups approved by the owner.

How to organize sharing?

There are three ways to organize sharing: they can be organized by one party, or different owners, or a third-party organization. The first way could be for one party to take ownership and provide the space for free or for a fee. The second is for different owners to come together and agree to share specific facilities or locations with each other. The another way could be a third party takes ownership and manages the space shared by all parties (Berg, 2019; figure 1).

Figure 1: Three ways to organize sharing according to Berg (2019), figure made by Chuyao Wang.

Hope this will help you understand sharing better. For a comprehensive understanding of the potential of sharing in the built environment, we are in the progress of a systematic theoretical analysis in this project. As sharing also has the potential to make efficient use of resources in ecosystems, we will also review the literature of sharing in ecosystems.

Reference list:

Berg, R. B. (2019). How to share space. In Facilities Management Models, Methods and Tools (pp. 115-121). Routledge. ISBN 9781032092386.

Lundgren, R., Kyrö, R., & Jylhä, T. (2022). Access-Based Consumption in the Built Environment: Sharing Spaces. Sustainability, 14(9), 5550.