I used to live in a house with my husband, dog, and three or more roommates. While this lifestyle was a little too “collaborative” for us at times, I did appreciate the ability to borrow tools from one another, be able to cook a large meal and know that somebody would eat the leftovers, and have built-in dog sitters for a quick weekend getaway. I definitely see this idea catching on in people my age (the younger Gen-Xers and older Millenials), and while I don’t know if it’s because we’re younger and have no money, or if we’re all brain-washed commies, but I’m glad to see our ideas weren’t that unique.
Collaborative consumption, a movement recently highlighted by Morgan Clendaniel for Co.Design, encourages communities to monetize their unused goods through a system of borrowing. Zip Car and bike sharing programs are excellent examples of rethinking consumption, enabling people to borrow a method of transportation for the few hours it’s needed. “You might own some tools that you never use, or perhaps you have a backyard that you just don’t have the time to do anything interesting with,” explains Clendaniel. “Today, they can look like revenue streams, not wastes of money.”
As a sort of antithesis to “Keeping Up with the Joneses,” we borrow books from friends, have slow food dinners that are really just giant potlucks, and practice other collaborative consumption.Other communities have city bikes and cars that anyone can use, as well as “free” stores where people can drop off stuff they no longer need and pick up anything they like.
But we live in a fairly hippy city; what is it like in other communities that might not be so collaborative? Leave your observations in the comments below.