Press release: Impact of the sharing economy in cities

  • cooperation
  • culture
  • economy
  • environment
  • knowledge society
  • mobility
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EUROCITIES 2016 Milan on 16-18 November explored the impact of the sharing economy in cities.

The EUROCITIES annual conference on 16-18 November looked at the impact of the sharing economy in cities.

Hosting the conference, Giuseppe Sala, mayor of Milan, said:

“The rapid emergence of the sharing economy is having a profound effect in cities. It offers exciting opportunities, but we must ensure it delivers benefits for all citizens. Milan is leading in this field, developing innovative policies, tools and platforms together with citizens to support this new form of economy.”

Through a series of roundtables, politicians, experts and business representatives discussed specific aspects of the sharing economy:  

-       City competences and legislative frameworks

Cities should not seek to prevent the sharing economy but should regulate it appropriately. Participants discussed concerns about platforms such as AirBnB and Uber, and the impact these can have on markets and industry. Cities must ensure the sharing economy is used in such a way that it delivers better quality of life, and should also explore opportunities it offers for public sector innovation. Participants discussed creating a ‘toolbox’ for cities on the sharing economy and including the sharing economy in the Urban Agenda for the EU.

-       New business models

Cities must ensure the sharing economy delivers social and economic benefits for all citizens. Data protection and transparency are major concerns, and the sharing economy depends on building trust among citizens. Cities sometimes struggle to react quickly to rapid technological developments, and must strike the right balance between regulation and entrepreneurial incentives. It is also essential that taxation and social rules are upheld; an EU framework is needed to ensure this.

-       Quality jobs and skills

The sharing economy has the potential to both create and destroy jobs. There is also the risk of more low quality employment, with poor pay and little social protection and the rise of the ‘internship economy’. As most sharing economy platforms are local, it is important cities have a say on how these are regulated. Cities can play an important role in creating a favourable ecosystem for the sharing economy, connecting stakeholders and ensuring fair competition.

-       Alternative approaches to welfare and services

More tailored and effective services can be delivered using ICT tools and co-creation. The city of Tampere presented its heart care programme, developed together with local patients, public and private stakeholders. Communication around the campaign is designed to reach those who have no direct access to local welfare centres. The challenge for cities is ensuring that all citizens can benefit from quality services.

Benita Matofska, global sharing economy expert and founder of The People Who Share, delivered the keynote speech on the sharing economy at the conference.


Three cities were selected as winners of the 2016 EUROCITIES awards for their initiatives relating to the conference theme. They are:

  • Cooperation category: Zaragoza – La Colaboradora

  • Innovation category: Athens - SynAthina

  • Participation category: Leeds – Migrant Access Project

New EUROCITIES president

Daniël Termont, mayor of Ghent, was announced as the new EUROCITIES president, taking over from Johanna Rolland, mayor of Nantes. He will be supported by Karin Wanngård, mayor of Stockholm, as vice president.

Daniël Termont said:

“Cities are experiencing a boost on both the European and global stages, with the launch this year of EU and global urban agendas. This is an exciting time to be leading EUROCITIES, which provides an invaluable platform for cities to share expertise and ideas, and gives us a strong and coherent voice in Europe. Let’s keep this urban momentum going.”

Open letter on ‘rethinking Europe’

Politicians also met for a debate on ‘rethinking Europe’, after which they issued an open letter to European and national leaders urging them to work with cities. They invited the leaders to a Summit of Mayors on 7 March 2017 in Brussels to engage in a dialogue with cities for a stronger and positive future for Europe.  

Next EUROCITIES conferences

Ljubljana will host the 2017 EUROCITIES annual conference, to focus on the circular economy. Edinburgh has been selected as the 2018 host.


Notes to editors:


Open letter on Europe:

Conference website:


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