The sharing economy should be about sharing more than profits. At least that’s what the thinkers behind the sharing economy called for in the early days of the term; however we’ve seen it evolve into a profit-driven notion like rental cars and the ever-questionable AirBnB. Frustrated by this greedy turn in the sharing economy the people at Good Robot started Autonomous Objects (AO). AO is similar to the tool library except there are no physical locations for the service, instead the tools are listed and tracked on an ethereum blockchain. The tools live in the houses of the borrowers until the next borrow shows up.
Why Autonomous Objects?
Autonomous objects are objects with freedom: they can’t be owned because they are part of a commons. This is an important and deliberate choice, because while ownership and its assumptions have been very valuable for our society, these assumptions have also dismantled many a successful commons. We try and avoid that problem by ensuring the objects in our system have genuine autonomy. Every object even has its own web page and even a ‘bank account’ (more about that later). Autonomous objects are public goods that can be enjoyed, used and shared by anyone. But they also need kind-hearted people to help, care for, fund, and protect them too (a guardian). Anyone can help, and best of all, if you like an autonomous object enough to donate to it you can help it spawn new offspring. Once an autonomous object accumulates enough donations in its ‘bank account’ it will purchase new copies of itself (its children) to share with the world!
Despite repeated efforts by Toronto’s mayor to make transportation in the city worse, things are improving. Local condo developers are finding ways to build condo towers that don’t require more parking than the building needs (an archaic law in the city wants room for two cars for every bedroom built). They are using the cash saved from not building room for cars to build infrastructure for bicycles – which the condo buyers are asking for.
Other cities around the world already do this and it’s thanks to the effort of the developers and councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam that Toronto benefits from this smart approach. With more people moving into the city bicycles make sense as a primary transportation source.
The developers — major players Canderel, DiamondCorp and Lanterra — agreed to contribute to Bixi in exchange for permission to create fewer parking spaces than city rules require.
The city sometimes releases developers from parking requirements without demanding anything in return. Wong-Tam said she decided that she would attempt this time to insist on the Bixi contribution. The developers, she said, put up “no resistance whatsoever,” since they will spend far less than they would have had to spend to build parking they can’t sell.
Lanterra chief executive Barry Fenton said he never thought of the agreement as a cost-saver: he believes his company would have persuaded Wong-Tam to relax the requirements even without the Bixi payment. Citing a “fantastic” bike journey he took in Stockholm, he said investing in urban cycling “just really, really, really makes a lot of sense.”
Urban centres are already more efficient than their surrounding suburbs and this looks like it will continue for the foreseeable future. Due to the close proximity of people in cities it allows for local sharing projects that can greatly reduce waste awhile increasing access to things we think we need.
How can cities help save the future? Alex Steffen shows some cool neighborhood-based green projects that expand our access to things we want and need — while reducing the time we spend in cars.
“It’s pretty inexpensive, even if you’re just going to use it once a week,” said Daniel Egan, the city’s manager of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. “There are a number of milestones we need to achieve by the end of November in order to launch this for next year. And one of those is to sign up 1,000 members. It’s really to protect the city and the (BIXI) company from financial risk — to know there’s a demand for this.”
The city will also need to secure $600,000 in corporate sponsors and locate appropriate docking sites. Both are well underway, says Egan.
“Quite frankly I think our biggest challenge will be the demand for more bikes once this program launches,” said Egan.
The ruggedly designed bikes are adjustable and designed to fit all body types. The wheels generate electricity to power the fixed-on lights.
Readers of this site should be aware that the G20 came to Toronto and caused a bunch of noise. Some sad news came out of that in terms of how the police acted (the largest mass arrests in Canada’s history). As a direct reaction to the abuse that occurred that weekend some people have turned to the net.
The Faces of the G20 is a place for people who have been affected by police brutality during the G20 to share their stories.
It is always good to see communities protect one another in the face of oppression. These people are looking to educate others while changing the system so that what happened to them cannot happen to others:
We are a small group of citizens affected by the G20 weekend in a variety of ways. We want to get our stories out, and to build a knowledge base as to what exactly happened before, during and after the weekend of July 26th, 2010.