Today Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Board President David Chiu announced a first-of-its-kind partnership between San Francisco’s growing sharing economy and local government focused on disaster preparedness and response. BayShare, a collaborative of sharing economy stakeholders, will also share their skills and resources to make San Francisco a more resilient city.
“The growing ‘sharing economy’ is leveraging technology and innovation to help our City become more prepared and resilient against disaster,” said Mayor Lee. “The sharing economy was born here, and partnering with BayShare, we are committed to ensuring that San Francisco supports this emerging sector’s success and nurturing even greater civic involvement.”
“It’s good to see ‘sharing economy’ companies advance civic goals like disaster preparedness,” said Board President Chiu. “I’m confident that BayShare will improve the communication between this emerging sector and local government as “collaborative consumption” evolves and grows in San Francisco.”
The sharing economy, also known as “collaborative consumption,” uses technology and social media to promote the sharing and re-use of underutilized assets such as cars, bikes, tools, rooms, spaces, skills and other goods. The growth of the sharing economy has been driven by the success of innovative companies and organizations like City CarShare, ZipCar, RelayRides, Airbnb, Getaround, Taskrabbit, Shareable, Vayable and more, many headquartered in San Francisco and creating a growing number of local jobs and local economic benefits.
Leading the sharing economy movement, BayShare is exploring how City stakeholders and the sharing community can work together to help the sharing economy flourish in the Bay Area to benefit the cities, businesses and communities. As part of the partnership, BayShare will be a resource for the Mayor’s Working Group on the Sharing Economy. It will also serve as a resource for the public by hosting events and providing educational materials so that more residents and businesses engage with the sharing economy.
“BayShare and its members are thrilled to join the City’s efforts to create a more prepared Bay Area,” said BayShare Executive Director Milicent Johnson. “The sharing economy community is in the business is repurposing assets, and we are excited to work with the City by sharing our skills and evolving social infrastructure to contribute to a more connected Bay Area community, and a resilient city in the event of a disaster.”
One immediate outcome of this new partnership is the launch of BayShare member Airbnb’s new tool to quickly deliver housing assistance to displaced residents following a disaster. Inspired by the Airbnb community’s work to donate housing to victims of Superstorm Sandy, the tool will help provide free emergency housing to families in need in cities in every part of the world.
Prior to Superstorm Sandy, the Airbnb website was not capable of listing properties for free or waiving standard fees. Making emergency housing available at no cost to Sandy victims required the Airbnb team to fundamentally redesign its booking and payment systems to accept no-cost, fee-free listing for a defined period of time in a defined geographic region.
To standardize this tool and ensure it could be quickly deployed anywhere in the world, the Airbnb team developed new processes to quickly identify and isolate regions affected by a natural disaster and allow no-cost, fee-free listings in those regions. Airbnb also consulted with the San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management (DEM) and IDEO to create a sustainable global tool that can be activated in 30 minutes or less.
“After Superstorm Sandy, members of the Airbnb community wanted to help displaced families in their city find shelter. Our system wasn’t set up to support free emergency housing, so we worked to make the necessary changes to help our community support people in need,” said Airbnb Founder and Chief Technology Officer Nathan Blecharczyk. “This work and the amazing outpouring of generosity from our community inspired us to build this tool. In a crisis, finding housing can be one of the toughest challenges. With 300,000 properties across the globe listed on Airbnb, we now have the infrastructure in place to help at a moment’s notice.”
BayShare companies today also participated in an open forum hosted by DEM. BayShare companies were introduced to San Francisco’s emergency management community which includes San Francisco’s Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT), the Interfaith Council, the Tenderloin Hunger Task Force, and the American Red Cross Bay Area. BayShare members, emergency management officials and community partners discussed how innovation and technology can bring people together to share resources and skills before, during, and after a disaster.
“Actual emergencies look more like people coming together than cities falling apart,” said DEM Executive Director Anne Kronenberg. “San Francisco’s recovery starts with the community and our partners that are there to lend a hand. We’re excited to have BayShare as one of our preparedness partners.”
Mayor Lee invited BayShare to join San Francisco’s Disaster Council. Chaired by the Mayor, the Council is composed of key department heads and City officials, three members of the Board of Supervisors, and representatives from private sector organizations. The Council meets quarterly at the call of the Mayor to share information and resources around San Francisco’s emergency planning activities.
BayShare is an organization whose mission is to make the Bay Area the best place on the planet for sharing. BayShare connects city stakeholders and the sharing community in a way that allows Sharing Economy flourish while benefitting the city, businesses, and communities. For more information, go to: www.bayshare.org