In 2016, the City of Gothenburg, Sweden, took initiative to develop an interactive map for its citizens to gather a multitude of happenings, events, initiatives and projects aimed at supporting a more sustainable lifestyle. The initiative is a partnership between the public and private sector and the people and is therefore reliant on local organisations to provide services and citizens to report their activities to the map. The map aims to make it easier for citizens of Gothenburg, as well as visitors, to live more sustainably. The map encourages more inclusion, facilitates new ways of linking up, and promotes access to shared services with the purpose to provide sustainable and resource efficient alternatives to mainstream services and products. For example, people are encouraged to find alternatives to consumptions, such as sharing and lending. The maps is open source and is continuously evolving, any citizen or organisation can propose new initiatives.
It should be easy to live sustainable lives but for citizens looking for alternative services or more sustainably produced products, it can be a challenge. In the City of Gothenburg, as in all cities, there are a lot of different organizations, citizens and companies that strive for more sustainable choices. They are each working in their respective fields to realise that vision, whether it be as a private citizen with great knowledge on bike repairs, a grocery store that is looking for ways to limit food waste, or an organisation repurposing old clothes for people in need. In order to make their activities fruitful and realise their vision at large, they need to be connected. Hence, the map serves as a good tool to link these users together and create a community that cocreates the information offered on the platform.
Good practices and solutions
The Smart Map highlights current and upcoming activities and networks throughout the city. The map works as a community where people can interact and promote their services and solutions to a greater audience. For example, the map shows different “swap services”, lending services for toys, clothes and machinery, bike repair shops, carpools, work and event spaces. By connecting people with different needs and solutions, the map facilities more sustainable ways of living for the citizens of Gothenburg. The maps has categories such as; food, knowledge, meetings, mobility, spaces, things and transaction types. The map is design in a way that the makes the search functionality very flexible, allowing users to search for initiatives by name, sector or activity. As a user, one can also browse the ongoing activities in your area or be inspired by projects in another part of the city.
Outcomes & Opportunities
To publish information on the map, the initiative must fulfil a number of criteria (number 1-5 are compulsory):
1. Open to everyone or limited to a particular block or group of residents
2. Items and services are provided free of charge (or at cost price)
3. Be a local community actor
4. Facilitate urban commons and accesses, rather than ownership
5. Promote renting, sharing, exchanging, borrowing and giving, rather than purchasing and selling
6. Promote exchange between private individuals
7. International companies are not allowed if they are not a cooperative
What is presented on the map is also decided through joint consultation between the association Collaborative Economy Gothenburg and the City of Gothenburg Consumer and Citizen Services Administration and are founded on their collective values and common remit. Anyone can submit a proposal by completing a ‘Add an activity’ form. Activities are then selected through a discussion between the project owners.
Related SDG targets
- 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.
- 11.6 By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management.
- 12.C Rationalize inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, in accordance with national circumstances, including by restructuring taxation and phasing out those harmful subsidies, where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts, taking fully into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries and minimizing the possible adverse impacts on their development in a manner that protects the poor and the affected communities.
Photo: © Jonas Jacobsson/Unsplash
Project: Circular Baltic 2030