Winner Participation Category: Gothenburg's Smart map
This November, Gothenburg's Smart map (Smarta Kartan) won the EUROCITIES Participation Award for best practices within the Circular Economy Field. Celebrating its one-year anniversary the day after the awards, the concept and success of the Smart map is definitely worth sharing.
The Smart map
To help achieve its greenhouse gas target, the city of Gothenburg set challenging goals for reducing consumption-based emissions. They recognised that citizens needed to have an alternative choice to buying, and therefore turned to the sharing economy. The Smart map which was created as part of an innovative civil-public partnership, is a tool that maps the sharing economy in Gothenburg, and includes over 100 sharing initiatives.
The Smart map encourages locals and visitors in Gothenburg to live sustainably, create a sense of community, facilitate new ways of connecting, and makes it easier to share rather then own. This allows residents to hire, borrow, share and swap. In other words, it allows citizens to directly participate in the circular economy.
The Smart map highlights current and upcoming activities and networks throughout the city, such as ‘bike kitchens’, where you can learn to fix your own bike, as well as exchange groups, give-away shops, and digital platforms. Simultaneously, changing peoples behaviour and inspiring new services.
“Like all European cities we have a goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions in general but what is unique to Gothenburg is wanting to impact consumption-based emissions by influencing and inspiring citizens to think about how they consume and live their lives.” Tove Lund, Planning Manager, City of Gothenburg
Who brought the Smart map together
The city of Gothenburg co-designed The Smart map with the Collaborative Economy Gothenburg (KEG), a voluntary group, that voice and co-ordinate citizen action. Gothenburg, determined to make the most of the civil society initiatives, created several public ‘map jam events’ where local initiatives engaged to help shape the project.
The KEG group meets once a month to add new initiatives proposed by residents, and to make sure it stays up to date. Any citizen or organisation can propose new initiatives on condition that it fulfils at least five of its seven criteria (ranging from being free of charge and enabling access over ownership to promoting renting, sharing, swapping, making, lending or giving).
The Smart map offers a flexible search functionality allowing users to search for initiatives by name, sector or activity. Visitors can simply browse and be inspired by ideas such as growing vegetables in a neighbour's garden, renting the latest fashions, learning how to mend things with 3D printing or sharing skills, and workspaces.
The Smart map has allowed people to share companionship and experiences too. Meet the Locals is one of the most popular schemes of this kind. Run by the West Swedish Tourist Board, it enables visitors to meet residents and experience Swedish lifestyle and culture from a local perspective, such as sharing their hosts' family dinners.
Within six months, a survey showed that 10,000 inhabitants visited the Smart map, many expressing that they were surprised at how easy living sustainably could be.
Attributing to this success was the involvement of KEG, which gave the initiative credibility among local activists, and engaged citizens who shared social media posts about the map and local government. By raising the visibility of the city's community resources, the Smart map has led to more collaboration between existing sharing projects.
Next on the agenda, is making the map open source, to allow other cities to replicate its framework, and finding new ways to support and expand sharing practices in Gothenburg.