Please discuss: How will technology & sharing change shopping in our cities?

Thanks to the ever advancing technologies, collaborative consumption is on the rise. As part of our “Beyond profit… Dare to share’ day we looked at pioneers in this trend as well as the wider economic implications.

We held a ‘Future of Shopping and Freight’ workshop in ‘street bump’ style to understand and discuss how the internet and our eBay culture are affecting our local street dynamics and interactions and the way we are buying and selling commodities.

Will we buy more or less on the internet in the future? Will we go to our High Streets to ‘look’ and ‘choose’ products and them buy them online from the comfort of our own homes? What will be buy locally and what will we buy globally? Will our neighbourhoods have Internet Shops: ‘faceless’ collection points where we go to ‘pick up’ our internet shopping? Will we live in smaller homes because we share and borrow more of the ‘stuff’ we need? Will ‘shopping’ remain as an important leisure activity? Will we shop more or less?

We also did some Scenario Planning. These were some comments from some of our participants:

  • Short Term – Internet to be used to facilitate local sourcing and access to these products.  Currently many local sourcing opportunities are lost as people see international brands as accessible but local suppliers difficult to find, internet forums where local suppliers and tradespeople can advertise can break down these barriers
  • Medium term – Global businesses to take the opportunities of experience and business efficiency to facilitate local sourcing.  Already large supermarkets are extending their market share by reopening city centre outlets, if they can use their experience to organise and coordinate local suppliers for these stores then Global meets Local could be more sustainable and better for consumers
  • Long Term – Consumer power to make radical changes to empower more local sourcing and local business ownership.  Consumer power can radically change the way city centre shopping is provided both through vocal and democratic political means and through their buying decisions, however this will take a significant shift in the way people think about what they buy.

Our “Dare to Share” day turned out to be a ‘global village’ day with participants from Malaysia, Australia, United States, Israel, Japan as well as lots of Berliners. I’d like to keep that ‘global’ discussion going by inviting you to disucss and in getting your views on the 5 questions:

  1. Freight – What will happen to freight and how will freight transport in our cities change if we all share and borrow more rather than buying?
  2. Sharing/Borrowing – What would you do to increase sharing in your city? What could you do immediately (within the next month), in the short term (within the next 5 years) and what longer-term ‘aspirational’ ideas do you have for sharing (things that could be implemented in the next 20 years)
  3. Local Internet Shops – Do you think in the future we will have a ‘local internet shop’ in our neighbourhoods where we will go to collect our internet shopping? (for examples books we buy from Amazon). If we had ‘local internet shops’ what else could they be used for to help our local communities?
  4. Shopping and Architecture – Do you think that housing typologies will change in response to changes in shopping, sharing and colloborative consumption behaviours? If yes, what do you think will change?
  5. Imagine the future – It’s 2040 and several cities across the world, including Berlin, are widely recognized as models in sustainable living. The journey towards sustainability started with the establishment of changes to sharing, shopping and freight in 2013. What were the 5 things that were done differently in 2013 that made all the difference?
Don’t forget I’ll be sharing my conclusions and recommendations on freight, sharing and shopping on 29 July at the Lab. Stay tuned!