Shifting Perspective: Redesigning Regulation for the Sharing Economy

Authors: Joeri van den Steenhoven, Idil Burale, Vanessa Toye & Claire Buré
Date published: March 2016
Research commissioned by: the Province of Ontario and MaRS Solutions Lab

Why did we select this research?

"The key challenge for cities is not just to know how to respond, but how to help build a sharing economy that benefits the city. This requires cities to take a broader perspective and be proactive." - MaRS Solutions Lab

This research helps city leaders/authorities better understand what a succesful strategy to address the sharing economy might entail. It answers the question how cities can design policies to become a Sharing City that benefits all citizens.

Key findings

Within the report, the authors present a 5-step framework for cities to develop a sharing economy strategy. 

  1. Create a vision: Developing a vision as a city is the first step in this process. Such a vision helps to get beyond a ‘whack-a-mole’ responsive approach. This city vision should align with the city’s identity and strengths, be time-bound and help unite partners across the city.
  2. Map the assets of the city: The next step is mapping the underutilized assets a city might have. These are assets that sit idle but could produce value once activated. 
  3. Identify opportunities: After identifying the underutilized assets, they can be matched with the key issues that a city faces, as well as the vision it has set out for itself.
  4. Define Actions: This step defines the actions related to each selected opportunity. Each action should clearly state the associated objectives, actors, resources and planning.
  5. Support the strategy: The final step is supporting the strategy with the right resources and structures to help ensure implementation. For example, establish an advisory council, learn from other cities and create a sharing economy fund.

For the accommodations sector, six key implications for regulation have been identified and the report suggests way to solve them. For transportation, the research has identified seven key issues and 24 solutions. Read the entire research:


MaRS Solutions Lab - Sharing Economy Public Design Report (2016). Retrieved from: