Sharexpo: Milan as a collaborative and shareable city

Sharexpo is a project born thanks to Collaboriamo, Eni Enrico Mattei Foundation, Secolo Urbano, ModaCult and ExpoLab (Catholic University of Milan). The main goal is to bring to the attention of Institutions, economic players and grassroots the emerging topic of sharing economy, as well as to stimulate a cultural reflection on this theme. A much more fundamental reflection, for the city of Milan and generally for our country, considering the forthcoming event of Expo 2015. As a part of a wider project, the path of Sharexpo begins the 29th of November 2013 at Sharitaly, a major convention on sharing economy and the firstsharexpo-624x833 italian event entirely dedicated to this emerging paradigm. In April 2014 the promoters of the initiative formed also a steering commitee, consisting of fourteen members from different areas of expertise, who drew up a guideline document for the project. The drafting of the manifesto involved, throught a dedicated event, many public and private players (including the Municipality of Milan) that helped to identify strong points and weaknesses about a wide implementation of the sharing economy in the city. They also proposed solutions and suggestions. The participation of over seventy startups, associations, profit and no profit businesses in the creation of the manifesto represents a clear sign of how Italy is a fertile context for the flooding of sharing economy. A fact confirmed by a research of Duepuntozero Doxa.

The sharing economy model can so represent an effective “reaction” to the extraordinary demand of services that will strike the city of Milan during Expo. Indeed, the number of expected visitors is over 20 million (both domestic and foreign), and a considerable part of these, 10.4 million, is potentially interested in an innovative kind of services, based on sharing and collaboration. The model of sharing economy, therefore, profiles many opportunities in different ways: from the field of space-place to stay for the visitors to the ambits of transportation, personal service, work, free time or food services (these the areas of interest indentified by the manifesto).

However the implementation of this paradigm certainly needs both regulatory interventions (also from a fiscal point of view), designed to frame new circumstances in relation to the sharing economy services, and new organisational set-ups. These problems obviously add up to cultural commitments that prevent the spread of sharing economy-based services, mainly consisting in the lack of confidence in online security protocols (critical in the field of the sharing economy where the use of web platforms is often fundamental to access the service). It is not by coincidence, then, that the manifesto faces all these difficulties and suggests a plan of action to engage problems and achieve a network of collaborative services in Milan. A challenge far from impossible considering the increasingly fleeting spread the model of shareable city is having in Italy, where the city of Bologna can be considered a best pratice, and abroad (for example Seoul). The implementation phase of the project started in Milan last July and is going to end in April 2015. After that, a trial and evaluation phase has been scheduled and, from January 2016, the project is expected to be fully operational, making Milan one of the first shareable cities in Italy.