Sharing Economy vs Sharing Cultures? Designing for social, economic and environmental good

Authors: Ann Light and Clodagh Miskelly
Date published: March 2015

Why did we select this research?

In this paper, Light and Miskelly contrast the design and experiences of a local crowd-funding initiative with global enterprises such as TaskRabbit and Uber, which are more commonly associated with the ‘sharing economy’.

Key findings

In local initiatives, the authors describe an emphasis on co-creating shared spaces for collaborative use of resources and joint ownership of projects and places. By contrast, popular sharing economy platforms often focus on renting, leasing or hiring, sometimes at the expense of community growth. A clear tension arises from the fact that while local models are much more likely to embody ‘sharing’ principles than an Airbnb, such initiatives are unlikely to ever to reach the scale of leading sharing economy firms.

In particular, Light and Miskelly delve into the effects of technology and ownership structures to explore this tension, and conclude that there is no one sharing economy but rather a number of sharing cultures that are emerging.


Light, A., & Miskelly, C. (2015). Sharing economy vs sharing cultures? Designing for social, economic and environmental good. Interaction Design and Architecture (s), 24, 49-62. Retrieved from: