The Sharing Economy is Evolving in Cities

November 2, 2017 - (2 min read)

In June of 2015, the National League of Cities (NLC) released the first national quantitative survey of local elected officials’ viewpoints on the sharing economy. The report, City Survey on the Sharing Economy: Shifting Perceptions of Collaborative Consumption, assessed the ways in which local elected officials were thinking about, responding to and regulating the sharing economy. At that time, the rapid growth, excitement and disruption surrounding the emergence of sharing economy companies was casting a feverish grip over communities of all sizes across America.

Today, the sharing economy has become nearly ubiquitous with day-to-day life in cities. Companies like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb are now operating in both large urban markets and smaller suburban markets. And most communities across the country have acted in some way to regulate, control or embrace these new services. Even so, the sharing economy is unique in that it presents an oft-changing regulatory environment that forces cities to be nimble and re-evaluate regulations on a regular basis.

Our latest survey out today, Cities and the Innovation Economy: Perceptions of Local Leaders, asks several of the same questions as well as some specific variants to those that we asked in 2015 in order to assess the changing landscape of the sharing economy and other technology-based market innovations. This year’s iteration of the survey provides some longitudinal data about how cities’ interaction with the sharing economy has changed over the past two years.

New questions have also been included to provide broader insight on the ways new technological innovations are impacting cities.

Report Highlights:


About the Authors:

Brooks Rainwater is the senior executive director of the Center for City Solutions at the National League of Cities. Follow Brooks on Twitter @BrooksRainwater.



Nicole DuPuis is the principal associate for urban innovation in the Center for City Solutions at the National League of Cities. Follow Nicole on Twitter at @nicolemdupuis.