By Tristan Pollock.
The future of the sharing economy looks a bit like the past. Tristan Pollock explains how the technology we are seeing introduced to our cities is spurring a return to small town values and making our communities more social, localized and connected.
Right now, there are battles being fought in our cities. Ridesharing services are at war with taxi companies, homesharing apps are fighting to win customers from hotels, and carsharing services are battling for market share with car rental providers. But if we focus only on the negative consequences of these battles, I think we’re missing the bigger picture.
The technology we’re seeing introduced to our cities via sharing economy services is having a greater positive impact than we could have ever expected. It’s making our communities more social, localized and connected. In fact, we’re returning to the days of small town America when we left our doors unlocked, doctors made house calls, and we actually connected with our neighbors.
Here’s how 19 tech startups are changing the way you connect with your neighbors and your community:
You can leave your doors unlocked (and lock them remotely).
And if you need to borrow something…
Doctors can make home visits again.
Neighbors are talking to each other more than ever.
4) NextDoor is connecting neighbors via a mobile app making it possible to to have more conversations between neighbors now than ever before.
5) VillageDefense is digitizing your neighborhood crime watch. The company was created after founder Sharath Mekala’s Atlanta home was broken into by a burglar. Now, in Atlanta and Detroit, VillageDefense has reduced home burglaries by up to 80 percent by notifying neighbors when a crime has happened nearby.
6) Lyft maintains the motto of ‘your friend with a car’ and aims to make inner city commuting more social. Lyft Line takes that a step further and allows you to simply share your ride with others going the same way.
Local government is listening to your needs (and responding).
7) SeeClickFix allows for seamless reporting of needed city improvements to local government officials.
8) Change.org allows for easy creation of online petition for local issues.
9) Neighborland empowers people to take action on local issues.
You can put your dollars to work locally.
10) StartSomeGood helps local changemakers crowdfund social impact projects.
11) Neighborly is a community investing platform that allows you to search and filter for bond issuances by community, cause, or yield.
12) HandUp helps you donate to homeless people trying to break the cycle in your city.
13) KivaZip allows you to easily support small business owners on your block.
You can share meals with your neighbors.
And that’s just a small sample of the services being created right now. More startups are launching everyday to bring us closer to our neighbors. One key takeaway from these developments is the idea that, even though technology can bring us closer, it’s not a substitute for face-to-face relationships. Online, humans can only build relationships to a certain point – we need to go offline to create deeper bonds with the community around us.
Tristan Pollock is the co-founder of Storefront, the marketplace that connects makers, including Kanye West, with retail space. Previously, he co-founded SocialEarth, a social impact media platform acquired by 3BL Media. Tristan has been named to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list, and his street art was featured in a TEDx talk on creative cities. A Minnesota native from a family of makers, Tristan now lives and creates in San Francisco, California. Connect with him at tristanpollock.com.