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42 cities agree on principles for responsible platforms

At Smart City Expo World Congress this week, 42 global cities agreed to 10 principles to help them capitalise on the platform economy, while avoiding risks.


At Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona this week, 42 global cities, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Lisbon, Madrid, Montreal, New York, Paris, São Paulo, Seoul, Stockholm and Vienna, agreed to 10 platform economy principles, and to collaborate further around the opportunities and threats for cities in this area.


Are platforms good for citizens?


Platform companies such as Uber and Airbnb have become household names and changed the way we access many services. These models also offer opportunities for cities to enable all kinds of companies to create new citizen services and value, and to enable more efficient use of resources.


However, there are concerns, too, around issues such as data ownership and transparency, labour rights and social responsibility.


Platforms offer opportunities for cities but there are also concerns around issues such as data ownership and transparency, labour rights and social responsibility.


These issues were high on the agenda during the Sharing Cities Summit at this week’s Smart City Expo World Congress, and discussions culminated in 42 cities agreeing on a Declaration of Principles and Commitments of the Sharing Cities.


The Declaration aims to integrate the different viewpoints of cities about the platform economy. It updates and expands upon principles set out at previous meetings and formalises the agreement between the cities.


A new platform paradigm


The Declaration incorporates three new principles: the differentiation between platform models, depending on their impact; the defence of the sovereignty of cities regarding big digital platforms; and the importance of fostering public support policies for the collaborative economy.


Som Mobilitat, Katuma, Som Energia, Smart IB, Moodle, Wikiloc, Wikipedia and Mensakas were highlighted as examples of socially responsible platforms which could align well with cities’ goals.


A statement from the City of Barcelona said of these examples: “Their economic model, which combines participatory governance and social and ecological responsibility with local embeddedness, open knowledge and open technologies, represents a different paradigm for understanding the economy.”


Barcelona will establish a taskforce office to co-ordinate the platform economy work between participating cities.

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