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Cities hopeful and cautious on ‘sharing economy’

Taxi drivers in Milan protested competition from shared-ride services like Uber last year. (MikeDotta/Shutterstock)

Car-sharing, home-sharing and other elements of the “sharing economy” create enormous potential for municipalities to expand services and job opportunity. But city leaders also must ensure that new ventures that emphasize sharing don’t cannibalize existing businesses — and reach all citizens.

Those are among the key takeaways from the EUROCITIES annual conference in Milan, held November 16-18.

Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala touted the Italian city as a pioneer. “Milan is leading in this field, developing innovative policies, tools and platforms together with citizens to support this new form of economy,” he said, according to EUROCITIES.

[Read: Milan embraces the sharing economy]

The network of major European cities recommends that municipalities “strike the right balance between regulation and entrepreneurial incentives.” Cities worried about data protection, taxation and other issues are urged to manage the sharing economy through regulation. EUROCITIES cautions against blocking this new economic model, which would deny some citizens its benefits. The urban network also proposes a “toolbox” to guide cities on how they can meld Uber, Airbnb and other ventures into their ecosystems. 


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