By Naomi Bloch
The rise of the web-enabled sharing economy is leading to much hope about potentially new sources of income and new ways for communities to connect and share resources. In the process, however, more consumers appear to be turning to global tech companies to acquire convenient, local services.
This July, Alberta residents were warned that drivers who use Uber’s car-sharing service may not have appropriate insurance coverage, with potential risks to both drivers and passengers. Earlier this month in Ontario’s Kitchener-Waterloo region, the local cab company Waterloo Taxi released its new mobile app. The company hopes the app will help it to maintain its edge against Uber, a recent—and not entirely legal—entry to the local marketplace. Meanwhile, starting this fall, Quebec will begin regulating the online home rental service Airbnb.
In this podcast, we interview Geothink co-applicant Leslie Regan Shade, associate professor in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information. Together with PhD candidate Harrison Smith, Shade has been exploring the “cartographies of sharing,” situating the geoweb in the sharing economy of Canada. Shade is particularly interested in the political economic questions now surfacing in the media, in policy circles, and in academia. She and Smith are focusing on three inter-related questions:
- What is the state of the sharing economy in Canada, particularly with respect to the fundamental opportunities and challenges currently facing municipal regulators in Canada?
- What particular benefits and challenges has the sharing economy brought to Canadian economies, particularly key urban centres?
- How is the geoweb contributing to the rise of the sharing economy in Canada?
If you have thoughts or questions about this podcast, get in touch with Naomi Bloch, Geothink’s digital journalist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.