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Cities are open to sharing

Sixteen per cent of cities have already entered into partnerships, while 79 per cent of those not in partnerships are open to forming them


Research on the innovation economy by the National League of Cities finds that many cities across the US are embracing sharing economy companies and new technologies like drones and smart city applications.


Cities and the Innovation Economy: Perceptions of Local Leaders shows that 78 per cent of cities are broadly supportive of sharing economy growth, 42 per cent of cities are using or considering using drones in municipal operations and 66 percent of cities have invested in some type of smart city technology.


"City leaders are eager to embrace new technologies and services to improve the lives of their residents," said Clarence E Anthony, CEO and executive director of the National League of Cities (NLC). "Cities are where good ideas turn into action. There are no better examples of this than with the growth of the sharing economy in cities and the increased use of smart city technology. But with any new innovation, cities must ensure they are deployed equitably and safely."


The survey finds that 55 per cent of cities describe their relationship with companies like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb as good or very good, and 16 per cent have entered into a formal partnership.


Of those not in a formal partnership with these companies, 79 per cent indicated that they were open to forming one. However, while a majority of cities indicate positive sentiments, a third of cities (33 per cent) described their relationships with sharing economy companies as "very poor."


"Relationships between cities and sharing economy companies have evolved rapidly in just a few years," said Brooks Rainwater, senior executive and director of the Centre for City Solutions at the National League of Cities (NLC).


"Through formal partnerships, cities are starting to collect tax revenue, share some data and solidify coordination with local transit services. However, opportunities abound to improve and expand these relationships. Cities make the sharing economy work, and city leaders have a vested interest in ensuring these relationships ultimately meet the needs of their communities."


Other key findings from the report include:


More than half of cities have not acted to regulate the sharing economy. Fifty-three per cent of local officials reported that their local government imposed no regulation on the sharing economy. At the same time, 30 per cent of local elected officials indicated that their city had imposed light regulation or a partial ban on the sharing economy, compared to six per cent in 2015;


Public safety remains a top concern surrounding ridesharing and home-sharing. Sixty per cent of local officials identified public safety as a top concern with ride-sharing, while 57 per cent of local officials indicated it was a top concern with home-sharing. This is consistent with 2015 survey results;


The majority of city residents have mixed or favourable feelings toward the sharing economy. Thirty-nine per cent of local officials indicated that sharing economy companies are viewed favourably by residents, while 51 per cent reported their residents’ sentiments are mixed.


The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.


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