The advent of online platforms and new technologies is breaking down traditional axes of both social interaction and commercial power, shifting the structure of traditional services. The platform revolution is radically transforming an array of many sectors, like transportation, accommodations and personal services. It can be considered as a pervasive innovation, which facilitates direct interactions between users and gives rise to the emergence of different needs related to data- driven trends. Services provided are often more convenient – because of the lower costs – and flexible than traditional ones.
An emblematic example falls, as well, in the field of transportation. The technical feasibility provides innovative solutions to the challenges of life, especially in crowded urban areas. Thanks to GPS-based navigation combined with real-time traffic information and mobile platforms, individuals are able to optimize their routing and schedule choices. In addiction, new methods of payment are changing the collection of user fees too. Sharing economy firms, therefore, represent a reaction against the frictions of urban life exploiting such exacerbation, in order to fulfill demand for appropriate services.
Furthermore, technological progress has led the development of apps for taxi service (such as MyTaxi), but it has also allowed to flourish a non professional alternative kind of transportation as Uber, the current market leader.
As a result, these businesses interact with the traditional models, sometimes competing directly against, raising unfair competition concerns (as UberPop case). Italian market evolution leverages regulatory challenges due to the anachronistic legislation of non-scheduled transportation, dating from 1992. It strictly regulates only taxi and private hire vehicles, which are subject to various regulations by states and municipalities. The market has strong barriers to entry, because of the requirement of licenses as necessary condition to access and operate; moreover, local regulations too impose other limitations, as the number of taxicabs that can be registered or the place vehicles can have a ride.
Since 2015 both the Transportation Regulation Authority and the Competition Authority has been sending signals that change is welcome, calling for a review of existing regulation, in order to remove or adapt those rules unable to correct market failures, but avoiding any qualification of new transportation services provided.
In 2015, indeed, the Transportation Regulation Authority suggested some proposal reform of the legal framework in order to include technological mobility services, even adding a new kind of transportation service, a so-called tertium genus, due to the conceptual difficulty in applying underlying rules.
Recently, the Competition Authority sent to the Parliament and the Government a report (AS1354), aimed at creating a level playing field; for this reason, the Authority suggested to:
- encourage equivalence of taxi and other non-scheduled kinds of transportation;
- guarantee the entry of new technological mobility services, which changed the whole mobility paradigm and made the legal framework outdate;
- identify appropriate tools to balance the market opening for taxi discharging public service obligations.
Finally, last August 4th, 2017 the Italian Parliament approved the Annual Law upon market and competition (Legge annuale per il mercato e la concorrenza n. 124/2017). It is the result of a longer path, started in 2015, which has experienced many changes during the time. Actually, the final text, consisting of only one article but 192 paragraphs, contains a number of important corrections compared to the original version, submitted by the Government on April 3rd, 2015. The law deals with many issues, as insurance, forensics, transportation, energy. It foresees provisions aimed at removing regulatory obstacles to the opening up of markets, promoting competition and safeguarding consumers, also in accordance with the EU principles on freedom of movement, competition and market access, as well as European competition policy.
Pursuant to clauses from 179 through 182, the Government is delegated to adopt a legislative decree for the reformation of non-line public service, in order to guarantee the development of sustainable mobility and smart cities by the next year.
In this regard, the new regulation must be aligned with guiding principles and criteria listed at clause 179, in order to:
- guarantee complementary and supplementary – to scheduled public one – transportation for all citizens;
- adapt the provision of services to new forms of mobility using technology platforms for interconnection of passengers and drivers;
- promote competition and stimulate higher quality standards;
- ensure consumer protection in the enjoyment of the service, guaranteeing more consciousness for the offer choosen;
- harmonize the regional and local authorities’ issues, defining common standards;
- adapt the sanctioning system for administrative violations identifying effective, dissuasive and proportionate penalties according to the gravity of the violation, also in order to counteract the phenomenon of abuse, requiring the power to impose administrative sanctions on local authorities in order to avoid overlapping.
Following provisions contain procedural details of the whole rulemaking process.
Even if there is not a clear stance on the way regulatory bodies should proceed, due to physiological vagueness of delegation criteria, it could represent the first concrete reaction upon the question of how to handle new market entrants.
Neverthless, the rulemaking process could seem to be arduous. It induces to reflect upon many points, as the qualification of the legal nature of innovative transportation services, the range of regulation and consequences in terms of price fixing. It should provide an appropriate solution to the ongoing problem of striking the right balance between competing priorities, such as market access and preservation of sustainable mobility.
Consequently, many other issues – not expressly mentioned – should be addressed and taken into account, as Big Data management, collection and, above all, disclosure.
Furthermore, the diversification of transportation supply must not result in the reduction of quality, or even in the increase of pollution and road congestion. In this regard, it would be necessary to reflect upon the best approach able to face the complexity of urban transport systems, in order to break in a new culture for urban mobility, comply to EU legislation too.
Il progresso tecnologico ha inciso profondamente sul settore del trasporto urbano non di linea, modificando le esigenze dell’utenza e la gestione delle risorse e mostrandone l’obsolescenza normativa. La recente legge 124/2017 rappresenta pertanto un’occasione per rivisitare l’intero sistema.
 Motala, M., The “Taxi-cab Problem” Revisited: Law and Ubernomics in the Sharing Economy, 33:2 Banking and Finance Law Review (2016) at 468.
 Davidson, Nestor M., Infranca, John J., The Sharing Economy as an Urban Phenomenon, 34 Yale L. & Pol’y Rev. 215 (2016)
 Meyer G., Shaheen S., Disrupting Mobility. Impacts of Sharing Economy and Innovative Transportation on Cities, Springer (2017).
 Holloway C., Uber unsettled: how existing taxicab regulations fail to address transportation network companies and why local regulators should embrace Uber, Lyft, and comparable innovators, 16 Wake Forest J. Bus. & Intell. Prop. L. 20 (2015).
 Iaione C., The tragedy of urban roads: Saving Cities from Choking, Calling on Citizens to Combat Climate Change, 37 Fordham Urb. L.J. 889 (2009).
Last May Advocate General Szpunar gave his first opinion about the right qualification of the service provided by Uber.
Uber is a peer-to-peer mobile ride-sharing platform which has received tremendous attention in recent years. Anyone having a smartphone equipped with the Uber application (i.e. the App) can get a ride in the cities where the App takes place.
Thanks to GPS technologies, the App recognises the location of the user, then finds available drivers who are nearby. It notifies the acceptance to the user and displays the driver’s profile.
It also estimates the price of the ride, according to the destination of the user, automatically charged to the bank card which the user is required to enter when signing up. In order to improve the service, the App has a ratings function too, both for drivers and passengers.
Uber has launched many services during the time, but the service going by the name UberPop is the one that has raised the most heated debates. This App allows nonprofessional private drivers to transport passengers using their own vehicles, arising concerns in many European countries where licenses or authorisation are required.
In 2014, indeed, a professional organisation representing taxi drivers in the city of Barcelona (i.e. Elite Taxi), brought an action before the Juzgado de lo Mercantil n° 3 de Barcelona against Uber Systems Spain SL (i.e. Uber Spain), because of its unfair competition towards Elite Taxi’s drivers. Namely, Elite Taxi argued that:
- The city of Barcelona requires licenses and authorisations under the regulations on taxi service;
- Neither Uber Spain nor its drivers owned them; for this reason, the company wasn’t entitled to provide the UberPop service and it was just engaged in an unfair competition.
Since several provisions of EU law were involved, the Spanish judge decided to refer some question to the Court of Justice, concerning whether platform services may be qualified as information society services (I.S.S.) or falls into the transport field.
The distinction has important legal consequences: if these services fell into the transport field, Uber wouldn’t benefit from Directive 2006/123/EC principles of the freedom to provide services, and the 2015 Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe ( Digital Strategy ); on the contrary, it would be regulated by the law of each Member State.
The Advocate General’s opinion represents the first legal solution about Uber, even if it doesn’t bind the Court.
The opinion is very interesting because it qualifies Uber as a composite service: it isn’t provided, over all, by electronic means. However, it could be included among I.S.S. if two conditions were satisfied:
- The economic indipendency of non-electronic supply from electronic services;
- The whole service should be supplied by the provider, who has to exercise, as an alternative, a strong influence over service delivery conditions.
On the contrary, the service offered by Uber doesn’t satisfy either of those two conditions. Moreover, the platform gives sense to the drivers activity, which couldn’t be considered as indipendent as required by the first condition stated above. Indeed, benefits are essentially provided by Uber itself.
Drivers aren’t free to fix prices per ride and other economical assets, because Uber:
- imposes them many conditions about the way of pursuing their activity;
- determines the price of the service and places where there could be a high volume of trips;
- exerts indirect control over the quality of their work, thanks to the rating and feedback of the users;
- rewards drivers who accumulate a large number of trips.
For this reason, the service offered by Uber could’t be simply classified as an information society one, but as an on – demand urban transport, because of the organisation and management of the whole comprehensive system.
Consequently, the platform’s activity is subject – according to Article 91 TFEU – to the conditions of each Member State, about the way non-resident carriers may operate transport services.
Recently the Advocate General Spuznar has again dealt with the development of the App in France. In this new opinion he has referred to his previous one, about Uber Spain as a transport service. This qualification would exclude the applicability of the Directive 98/34/EC too.
In conclusion, France might prohibit and punish the illegal exercise of a transport activity carried out by the App UberPop without having to notify the Commission of the draft law in advance. The exclusion of any obligation to notify the draft law would operate, in his opinion, even if the activity was considered as an I.S.S. by the Court of Justice.
These opinions are aligned with other initiatives of the EU institutions, aimed to both the encouragement of the collaborative economy and its development in a responsible manner. This was the belief of the Commission, published in a Communication on 2 June 2016. It underlined the importance of collaborative economy as a contribution to jobs and economic growth in the EU.
The European Court of Justice’s determination is considered crucial because it will greatly affect the growth and future of Europe’s sharing economy. Furthermore, it should be unrealistic the qualification of Uber as a simple I.S.S.: users who log onto the app seek to book a ride, nor merely to browse “the number of Uber drivers with red cars”.
Even if the Opinion does not bind the Court, which decides in full independence, it indicates a legal solution, which is necessary due to many legal concerns involved, such as competition, consumer protection, privacy, security, public services, labor and tax law.
 Z. Li, Y. Hong, Z. Zhang, Do Ride-sharing Services affect Transport Congestion? An Empirical Study of Uber Entry, available at http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2838043.
 A. Alexander De Masi, Uber: Europe’s Backseat Driver for the Sharing Economy, Creighton International and Comparative Law Journal 7/ 2016, at 73.
 R. Elaine Elliott, Sharing App or Regulation Hack(ney)?: Defining Uber Technologies, Inc., 41 Journal of Corporation Law 2016.
Il debutto dell’App UberPop nel contesto europeo ha permesso a chiunque di aspirare alla professione di autista. Proponendosi come un servizio dalle caratteristiche ibride, ha incontrato le resistenze dei tassisti, rendendosi oggetto di numerosi contenziosi in sede civile nonché di rinvii pregiudiziali alla Corte di Giustizia.
Lyft car in San Francisco ( Source: wikimedia)
Europe opens the door to the sharing economy. Uber and Airbnb are looking for a global expansion, and now more than ever there is the common need to write rules that have to be clearer and equal for all. For this reason majors from numerous cities are coming together to provide a collective answer rather than continuing to act on city-by-city basis. Regulation is a big hurdle for companies like this, specially when they are expanding. They need to convince lawmakers to side with them; they have strong arguments in their favor, as both companies have a positive impact on cities and creates jobs.
Why the need for regulations emerged?
To avoid some negative circumstances. In New York Uber has been accused of running an antitrust scheme or Airbnb to become a platform for unregulated hotels. In France Uber faced riots amid taxi strikes to its executives being fined by a judge. Uber is the start-app most financed in the world. It’s not quite easy to face this kind of situation because competition in markets is very strong.
Regulations are needed and the challenge has began. In Paris, Airbnb’s most popular destination, they started collecting a tourist tax on behalf of the cities.
The new guidelines of the EU Commission aim at distinguishing between those who provide personal car or house occasionally, to “round up”, and those who do it full time and professionally. These “sharing” services may be prohibited by national governments only as an extreme measure. However the decision is up to individual Member States, which must adapt national legislation, but may do it on their behalf because the indications of Brussels are general and not legally binging.
This is what has been said:” “Establish minimum thresholds under which economic activity can be considered a non-professional one between peer without having to meet the same requirements that apply to a service provider that operates on a professional basis.”
In this way it will be possible to divide who can provide a sharing economy service and who can no longer do so. It can depend by the income that is derived from these activities or the number of days. If there is an employment relationship for which the service provider is dependent it shall apply in full legislations on licenses, taxation, liabilities and social rights.
“You cannot impose a total ban on these activities” of sharing economy “if the reason is to protect existing business models”, these are the words of the Commissioner for the internal market Elzbieta Bienkowska.
It is not an easy and fast process but governments hope for a full collaboration from this platform. The main scope is to maintain the idea of participative economy, creating a cooperation with the istitutions.
Airbnb e Uber si stanno espandendo a livello globale. La sharing economy si affaccia in Europa. È arrivato il momento di applicare delle regole che siano generali, uguali e valide per tutti. Bisogna fare una distinzione tra chi offre questi servizi occasionalmente e chi lo fa a livello professionale, in questo è necessario un contratto da dipendente e agire secondo licenze, tasse e responsabilità.
The sharing economy is an urban phenomenon that is spreading worldwide and is changing the way we conceive commerce, social relations and economic development. During the last two years, this issue arrived also in the judiciary rooms as in the case of Germany ( if you are interested read on The Guardian article). Recently, political institutions, both at the EU level and at the national level in countries like France and Italy, recognized the relevance of the phenomena and decided to intervene with legislative measure. In Italy, a law proposal the “Sharing economy act” is currently under discussion in the Parliament.
The EU Commission has recently given guidelines to ensure that member countries pose an appropriate collaborative economy normative regulation.
The EU Commission’s definition for the collaborative economy refers to “business models where activities are facilitated by collaborative platforms that create an open market for the temporary use of goods and services, often provided by private individuals”.
The guidelines of EU contain some mains point.
First of all to harmonize the rules of EU countries in order to have a legislation on sharing economy guided by common rules and objectives.
Brussels criticized some measures such as those designed by Berlin that forbade citizens to offer for rent the whole house Airbnb or similar services without prior authorization by the city administration and it stresses the importance of minimize bans on services like Airbnb.
On the contrary, the Commission is in favor of soft measures, such as the introduction of limits on the number of days in which you can give for rent their own apartment or a room on sharing sites like Airbnb. Restrictions that should help fight the uncontrolled rise in rents of which stands accused the platform and the armature recovery by traditional actors. In Berlin from 2009 to 2014 rents increased by 56% and 6.1 million overnight stays a year “lost” by hotel chains.
The European Commission raises the problem of Uber drivers as employees,much debated point among the actors of the sharing economy that need to be resolved.
Brussels is in favor on the issue of the rating, the mechanism that many platforms they use to increase customer confidence is the same used by Uber for drivers, most are rated by customers, the more reliable and more soar in the rankings. For many critics is a dangerous mechanism for the consumer which do not measure the actual driver’s reliability, the Commission takes the contrary view.
The Italian situation: the sharing economy act.
In Italy the law proposal on the Sharing Economy was drafted by the Parlimentary intergroup on Innovation, which has decided the last June to open an online consultation in the belief that it can be a step to an Italian cultural change.
In Italy, according to data published in the article of marketing pull of insider information “Sharing Economy: a bill to push Italy” , presenting data from Federico Capeci, CDO & CEO of TNS Italy, during the first festival on sharing economy; in Italy the sharing economy is known by 70% of the population, with good prospect of growth.
Immediately after the mobility services (26%) as Uber and Blablacar, the most successful record it organized the services of exchange and barter (10%), rental services of rooms or private homes (9%), cultural services (8 %) and services of loans between individuals (4%).
Despite the numbers indicate the forecast of continued growth of the sharing economy (there was an increase in the use of 47% as part of mobility and 40% for tourist services and accommodation), a symptom of a high degree of satisfaction those who use it, the lack of trust in those who offer these services and the lack of precise rules slows down the process of affirmation of this form of economy.
The regulation of this issue is very introverted and is necessary to involve the widest number of skills to improve the proposal.
In Italy an online consultation was held and an in-depth meeting organized by the Parliamentary intergroup for Technological Innovation with the collaboration of the association Innovation States General, and attended, along with the parlamentars Ivan Catalano and Veronica Tentori, various organizations including Airbnb, Altroconsumo, Cautious, Confcommercio, Federalberghi, Gnammo , “La Ruche qui dit Oui!” (the Hive-who-says-yes), Red Balloon, as well as academics.
During the meeting they were presented the opposition positions in the presence of the law itself, but it seems that by the platform operators, associations and consumers is shared the approach to the horizontal regulation.
The choice of the managers as withholding agents in general is shared, but one gets the impression that the issue should be confirmed after a series of checks on the application of the law; the threshold of 10 thousand euros of income for the distinction between amateur and professional operators (which are subject to 10% tax) is consistent with the criteria suggested by the EU Commission, shared by operators and also by the recent Airbnb office, where the data more common for non-professional users operators is 2,300 euro.
Have emerged from the meeting various needs first of all , to give a strong meaning to the Sharing Economy; on the definition of the application border, on the way it governs the social collaboration. This definition in the recent EU guidelines can be an important reference, but not sufficient in relation to the theme of the social.
It requires greater clarity on the definition of user operator income to which you apply the 10% tax, especially for those activities whose compensation for the user operator is identifiable as the reimbursement of expenses; have been reaffirmed several aspects to be explored, from the presence of a minimum threshold beyond which the rule applies especially for certain types of es.BlaBlaCar exchange, the documentation required for the determination of income to avoid ‘flood of bureaucracy.
It was discussed during the meeting of the ‘Establishment of the Registry of the managers at the AGCM (Guarantor Authority for Competition and Market), considered by some bureaucracy.
It has been repeatedly reaffirmed the need to push the logic of incentives rather than compulsory measures, and to bring greater clarity to the user’s user profile, which is not professional trader.
Important will be the development and implementation of the forecast of the public administration, as a necessity of identifying and developing the social part of the economy collaborative economy, in which the public sector has a significant impact.
The law proposal, Act 3564 concerning the sharing economy aims to regulate a very diverse field and with blurred lines boundaries, with precise and clear rules to be applied to anyone and to offer the ” shared and optimized allocation of the resources of space, time, goods and services via digital platforms, “whether it be websites or mobile applications.
The bill wants to deal with the challenge of redefining some measuring methods, in a labor market and in a context of rules and economic parameters that are suitable for today’s economy based on the sale and production of goods and services, more than their share or exchange. In this debate emerges strongly the complex issue regarding the legal status and protection of the worker who works through the sharing economy platforms, which today is difficult due to the existing models, designed for a context and a labor market that is in continuous transformation.
In this sense a deeper reflection and specification is required. The main task which the legislature has to perform is to ensure fairness and transparency, especially in terms of rules and taxation, including those working in the sharing economy and traditional economic operators and to protect consumers, in particular as regards issues related to security, health, privacy and transparency on the conditions that underlie the service.
It is necessary to begin to intervene in the field of sharing economy to different professional sectors involved. this bill will guide a process of change that can not be stopped but it should be governed.
This proposed law, as reflected in Article 1 related to the purposes, aims to recognize and enhance the sharing economy, to promote its development and to define measures aiming in particular to provide for instruments to ensure transparency, the tax fairness , fair competition and consumer protection.
Article 2 defines the parties involved and sets out the definition of sharing economy for the purpose of the law.
Article 3 identifies the Competition Authority and the market as competent to regulate and supervise the activities of digital platforms for sharing economy, together with the expertise and setting up the national electronic register of the sharing economy platforms.
Article 4 sets out the provisions relating to the company’s policy document of the sharing economy platforms, which will be subject to the opinion and subsequent approval of the Authority, as a binding condition to be part of the National Register of electronic platforms sharing economy. In this policy document it includes the terms and conditions between the platform and the users, in addition to information and obligations relating to any insurance policies. In the same article it is prescribed that any money transactions are made only through electronic payment systems and set out the unique recording mode for all users, designed to prevent the creation of fake profiles or not related to the actual owner.
Article 5 acts on taxation, in order to uphold the principles of transparency and fairness. The approach is flexible and diversified among those employed in microactivities not professional at integration of their labor income, and those who work in professional or business level, through the identification of a threshold of 10,000 euro.
The platforms of the sharing economy managers act as withholding agents for the revenues generated by the operators users with a fixed rate of 10 percent on all transactions.
In the event that the user’s operator go beyond the threshold income, the excess amount is payable in addition to other income received by the user and therefore is applied the respective rate.
Article 6 regulates the adoption of annual measures for the dissemination of the sharing economy, in order to remove regulatory barriers, regulatory or administrative nature, to its spread, ensuring fair competition and consumer protection, as part of annual law for the market and competition. For the commercial aspects of the sharing economy it is in fact necessary a sectoral regulatory approach, also coordinated with the European legislation, to ensure legal certainty and a level playing field to operators. According to proponents the regulation should be based on the criterion of the size of the sharing economy initiatives to be subject of the rules.
Article 7 contains provisions related on protection of privacy, sets out the definition of “user data” and contains provisions regarding the transfer and deletion of data.
Article 8 provides for the issuing of guidelines aimed at promoting the sharing economy, including in the public administration.
Article 9 concerning monitoring provides for the communication of data from the National Institute of statistic by the platform’s operators present in the Register referred to Article 3, paragraph 2, in order to learn about the development and evolution of the sharing economy and to evaluate the effectiveness of regulatory actions.
Article 10 lays down the rules on checks and sanctions.
Article 11 lays down the transitional rules for the managers of the sharing economy platforms already operating on the entry of force of the law.
Article 12 contains the financial provisions.
Since the implementation of the law are not descended new or increased burdens on public finance and the financial resources resulting from its implementation are intended for the full deductibility of expenses incurred by owners and operators users of the platforms in order accretion of digital skills as well as the realization of technological innovation policies and digitalization of companies.
LabGov is based on the idea that, in order to achieve social and institutional regeneration, it is necessary to create collaborative relationships between citizens, administrations and businesses to share the scarce resources and to take care of the commons, whether tangible or intangible, in urban and local communities.
For this mains reasons Labgov strongly believes that is important to promote sharing economy and to find for sharing economy a common regulation , from EU level to national system as written in The CoR opinion drafted by LabGov coordinator prof. Christian Iaione, as an expert of the EU Committee of the Regions. (If you are interested in this subject, please explore the full document here.)
L’economia della condivisione nota come Sharing economy è un fenomeno urbano che si sta diffondendo in tutto il mondo e sta cambiando il modo di concepire il commercio, le relazioni sociali e lo sviluppo economico. Nel corso degli ultimi due anni, questo problema è arrivato anche nelle camere giudiziari. Di recente, le istituzioni politiche, sia a livello UE che a livello nazionale in paesi come la Francia e l’Italia, hanno riconosciuto la rilevanza del fenomeno e hanno deciso di intervenire con misure legislative. In Italia, una proposta di legge (Atto 3564) è attualmente in discussione in Parlamento.
2015 was an intense year for the city of Milan in terms of acknowledgment of the sharing potentialities in the urban context and action planning for its . It’s time to take stock, also in view of the primary elections. As the City Councilor for Labour Policy, Economic Development, Research and University, Cristina Tajani, underlines the city “experienced public policies that can deal with very deep economic and social transformations and this is recognized. The goal has always been enhancing the positive externalities of the sharing of goods and services, and to limit the negative ones (which also may occur). In short, public policies as “hand-to-hand” with reality”.
The reflection about the sharing economy was launched by Sharexpo in 2014 founding in the Public Administration an attentive and proactive listener as well as a strong supporter. In less than a year (December 2014) the city formulated its personal manifesto about sharing: the “Guidelines on the Sharing Economy” resulted from an online public consultation equipped by a questionnaire that allowed citizens, startupper, researchers, businessman, local associations and services’ users to enter in contact with the Municipality sharing ideas, information, and demands about the sharing economy. A real policy making process without precedent in Milan and in Italy that made clear the important role the Public Administration can play in this frame as “enabling platform”, connector of experiences, facilitator for the development and the integration of the sharing economy’s practices in the urban context. The Municipality embraced this role, demonstrating an already rooted sensitivity toward innovations, coming up from the previous project “Milano Smart City”, and betting on innovation as a tool to strengthen the community spirit and social inclusion.
Today we can count many different initiatives and policies going in the sharing directions. Milano(è)IN is just an example that give the idea of the cultural frame in which sharing ties. The Labor Policies Division’s project, with its series of meeting and encounters, is activating skills, competences and resources in order to exploit the city potential in favor of a better social inclusion. The frame of Milano(è)In’s policy is based on two pillars: INnovation and INclusion. The former is considered a strategic lever to foster development and competitiveness of the local/regional economic system; in terms of policy making and financial resources, Milan bets on innovative startups, incubators, FabLab and sharing economy. The latter is pursued through social, employment and digital inclusion; thanks to the collaborative economy Milan aims to create a more cohesive social fabric. With this project, the city is fueling the debate on the importance of using social innovation as a tool to improve the level of social inclusion and create a more supportive social tissue.
The Guidelines gives many useful indications to lay the foundation for a real sharing city. Some of them have been already implemented, such as the Mapping of the local actors that replies to “the necessity to give visibility and acknowledgement to the new reality of the sharing economy in the city”, as underlined by Caterina Sarfatti, Project Manager for the International Affair Department of the Municipality of Milan. The Mapping allowed to create an official Register of qualified operators and experts of the sharing economy through public call (to date there are 60 experts and 42 operators). For some local experts, as Davide Agazzi, Managing Director in RENA and counselor of the Municipality of Milan, this network could become in few years a “prototype of a new ‘associative representation business’ or more easily a coalition of actors able to imagine public services of new generation”. The Municipality, recognizing the lack of a physical place for these actors, decided to make available a space to pool energies, to adopt a systemic approach and to accelerate initiatives, a place to enabler the subjects of the net. For this reason it open the CO-HUB, The House of Collaboration, in Calusca Alley, giving to an ATS composed by the associations Collaboriamo and WelcomePack, Dorisette srl, Paolo Mauri Pisan and Fidia srl the commitment to manage the space in synergy with all the other actors and under the public supervision. CO-HUB is based on four activities, training, contamination, research and dissemination, and intents to be an enabling platform to connect experiences, practices, experts, operators coming from different worlds, business, university, institutions, civil society.
The project of Calusca Alley is part of a biggest frame of requalification and re-use of public space that the Municipality is carrying out. Among the initiatives we can found BASE MILANO (ex-Ansaldo), a space that in the vision of the Public Administration will be able to generate business and culture, training and experimentation, respecting the ex-industrial nature of the area (Tortona) and its current innovative vocation at the same time. It represents a laboratory that will cover all the cycle of development of cultural and creative goods and services, from incubation, to production and use/consumption, in which innovation, inclusion and sociality will find expression, and creative talents, innovators and ordinary citizens can connect, dialogue, confront, transforming it in a concrete result of the policies that the city is implementing under the umbrella of smart and sharing. D’Azeglio Street is another example of space reuse and the 1000m2-public space will become a modern FabLab for the local makers, a meeting point for young producers or business projects that will enliven the neighborhood social life and involve the interested communities. In the same vein in 2016 will born the Smart City Lab, thanks also to the support of the Ministry of Economic Development and Invitalia (National Agency for the attraction of investments and for the enterprises development) with the aim to develop the entrepreneurship and innovation and to create a symbolic place, a reference center for research and advanced technological solutions, to improve the social functioning of the city and the lives of its inhabitants/users. Besides these initiatives the City has assigned more than 22,000 square meters of unused spaces to associations, startups and citizens. In terms of space, eight new shared gardens (34 thousand square meters) have been set up, and 24 houses for the solidarity hospitality have been realized. In addition, the project “Tira su la cler” aims to promote the business development, encouraging the neighborhood trade, and to breathe new life into 13 spaces unused in the suburbs of the city. As declared by the City Councilor Tajani the space re-use policies replies to a double need: “on the one hand give back to the city a building abandoned by collaborating with private entities and on the other hand experience new opportunities for production and training related to innovative sectors […]. In this way we combine economic, social and cultural energies of the neighborhood”.
Another interesting action implemented is that of the Civic Crowdfunding, that seeks to create and let emerge projects of social innovation and shared social networks related to social groupings, and a more accessible and attentive city to the needs of persons with disabilities, to the elderly and the families. As remembered by Lucia Scopelliti, Smart City Coordinator Officer of the Municipality of Milan, the aim of the platform is “to favor the development of a real ecosystem of innovation in the city and thus allow the birth of innovative practices and projects the city has acted on two complementary levers: from one side auctioning virtuous mechanisms within the local administrative machine, and from another side favoring synergies and the creation of a critical mass between the civil society, the voluntary sector, the businesses world, the research entities and the financial institutions”. The city is so involved in the mission to favor social innovation that many incubators with public participation are also born: Air, Alimenta, PoliHub, SpeedMiUp and the most famous FabriQ in its second year. About this last incubator Scopelliti underlines that “the quality of the projects financed is clearly demonstrated by the ability of the same startups incubated to find also private resources […] at the moment we are working on a new governance model of the incubator that will allow, in five years, to ensure the full viability of the project. We are also thinking of innovative financial models based on the logic of “social return on investment”. The support for projects of incubation and acceleration, and spaces of collective production and consumption, is a sign of the active public participation and of its’ commitment in matching innovations and inclusion. As the Mayor, Giuliano Pisapia, declared: “create a city able to reply at the needs of who wants doing business, innovation and launch new projects, is our goal of the last years”. Not to mention the presence of 9 Makerspaces and FabLabs, 53 coworking spaces certified and included in the Official Register of the Municipality and 470 innovative startups among the 3200 born in Italy until December 2014.
Also, several initiatives coming from the different departments of the administration (Labor, Urban Planning, Culture, Sport…) highlight the general leaning and confirm an internal conformity in the direction of sustainability, inclusion, equity and innovation (Green City, 100 in 1 Day Project, BookCity, Fuori Salone, Expo in Città…).
The policies going in the sharing direction are favoring initiatives growing in number, the participatory budgeting is just another example and involves 9 municipal districts (zones) with the aim to favor citizen’s active participation and facilitate wide discussions among citizens (coordinated by experts in participatory processes). The just started experimentation of a condo-caregiver is another example: the shared caregiver inside an apartment building is a “way to put together needs and strengths, Municipality, Third sectors and citizens…” says Majorino, City Councilor for Social Politics. Through the sharing assistance the caregiver will play a significant function of defense/custodian also for the same Municipality. The experimentation is just at the beginning, and a group of work is in charge of its monitoring, evaluation and control.
Among the initiatives and policies the shared mobility is growing and enhancing. Not only in terms of carsharing, with five different companies offering the services, 340 thousands of members, an average of 8,100 daily rents and around 2,000 cars available, and the award Eurocities Innovation 2015 just won by the city for its carsharing service; but also in terms of bike sharing (BikeMi) that registers 40 thousands member per years, 10 thousands daily rents and a total of 4,500 bikes, 1,000 of them with pedal assistance, confirming the service system as the first in the world to offer this double possibility. The slogan is: “easy, convenient and green”. In addition the city has launched a service of scooter sharing. The penetration of the mobility sharing services has grown thanks to the spread of ICTs and mobile devices, allowing a process of reformulation of mobility services, demonstrating how part of the city mobility is strictly related to the possibility to access to Internet. The sharing mobility is only an example of technology applied to mobility services in the city: there are also apps for parking (Pyng, MyCicero, EasyPark), a general website about city mobility (muoversi.milano.it), the C Area (areac.atm-mi.it) and the online TPL ticket (app Atm Milano). The Municipality is open to reimagine the system together with its citizens. A possible evolution is related to the launch of peer-to-peer services that will make necessary to rethink the assurance paradigm; the current normative in fact doesn’t allow the private rent to a third person. In this case, the role of the Public Administration will assume a new aspect, in order to overcome its role of supplier to become also a regulator of the public market systems.
With the Guidelines, the Public Administration is undertaking to relate with three typologies of subjects under the big umbrella of the sharing economy. The big corporations such as AirBnB and Uber, in order to understand how to manage and regulate their presence in the city and how to exploit their networks for a recirculation of information (recently the city of Milan and the Region approved new home sharing rules); the small startups rising up in the city and based on collaborative models, in order to comprehend how promote them and allow them to thrive, socializing the benefits of the sharing economy services to people; the community’s initiatives so as to figure out how to read, interpret and relate to them.
The recent “Collaborative Week” (hosted at Base Milano in November 2015) with the third edition of Sharitaly, the Experiment Days, the European Coworking Conference, Espresso Coworking and Milano Sharing City, is a clear evidence of the city commitment in the promotion and support of the sharing initiatives.
The 2015 has been an intense year and the city has supported and is still supporting many initiatives in which its citizens and actors are considered not simply stakeholders, but solutionholders. Subjects able to enter in a virtuous process of reciprocity in order to generate forms of co- planning, co-development, co-management of practices, spaces, goods and services, collaborating with the Public Administration. The city is demonstrating a strong trust in this mechanism recognizing the central social and economic role that each individual can play and the importance of their interconnection. This interconnection can favor the formulation and identification of new solutions and new typologies of services and the same Public Administration recognizes that such results can be achieved only with a significant paradigm switch not just economic but cultural and institutional overall. The city in 2015 went for it and the results are quite evident: the ecosystem of innovation built in the last years is reaching its maturity, one can breathe a vibrant atmosphere and see the serious commitment, all elements that give us confidence for the future and hope in the direction of a more shareable and human city. 2016 seems to be the year of the definitive consecration of the sharing economy in Milan and in Italy as well.
Il 2015 per Milano è stato un anno intenso in termini di innovazione sociale e sharing economy. A dicembre 2014, con una delibera di giunta frutto di un processo collaborativo con la cittadinanza, sono state approvate le Linee Guida sulla Sharing Economy prevedendo una serie di iniziative ad hoc e impegnandosi a sostenere pratiche e servizi collaborativi in città a favore di una migliore qualità della vita. È nato il progetto Milano Sharing City e grazie agli sforzi che la città ha portato avanti negli ultimi anni in termini di smartness si sono poste le basi per la creazione di un vero e proprio ecosistema di condivisione e innovazione. La mappatura degli attori della sharing economy ha fatto emergere un tessuto locale particolarmente ricco e propositivo, spazi pubblici in disuso vengono restituiti alla città per accogliere e far crescere idee imprenditoriali e nuovi business innovativi, coworking e spazi di produzione condivisa sono in aumento, i servizi di mobilità condivisa sempre più utilizzati, nuove progettualità stanno emergendo (dalla badante di condominio al budget partecipativo). L’interesse e l’impegno della città sono testimoniati anche dalla nascita di Co-hub, la casa della collaborazione, uno spazio votato alla formazione, contaminazione, socializzazione e ricerca in materia di sharing, e dalla recente Collaborative Week, un momento di incontro senza precedenti a Milano che riflette il clima di fermento della città. Il 2016 sarà l’anno della consacrazione della Sharing Economy? Ci aspettiamo grandi cose.