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Exploring social, economic and environmental consequences of collaborative production: the case of bike repair maker spaces in three European countries

Singh, Jagdeep; Lehner, Matthias; Winslow, Julia; Voytenko Palgan, Yuliya; Mont, Oksana

Cities have emerged as leading forces in transforming societies towards sustainable development. Numerous repairs, do-it-yourself (DIY) and maker communities across European countries are established to: improve resource efficiency by extending the lifespan products through repair and part recovery from urban material streams create new sources of income for local communities by sharing resources and skills and enhance social cohesion by enabling new kinds of social interactions. The aim of this research study is to examine the contribution of such initiatives to the environment, economy, and society. The study focuses on cases of maker spaces in Sweden, Switzerland, and Spain engaged in bicycle repairs as study objects. The study addresses the following research question: What are the main social, economic and environmental impacts of collaborative production organizations? Overall sustainability effects of collaborative production activities depend upon the design, operational activities, and institutional contexts. Thus, this study analyses these cases of maker spaces from socio-economic, environmental and institutional entrepreneurship perspectives. Qualitative data is gathered through interviews with the organizers of maker spaces to formulate a systemic understanding of key activities (repair, resource recovery etc.) and exchanges (spare parts, skills, tools, financial etc.) carried out at the maker spaces in the context of the circular economy. A user survey focusing on the benefits of the maker spaces to the users is carried. The study contributes to identifying critical system dynamics associated with collaborative production in the circular economy context and highlighting main areas of further research assisting a better understanding of the systemic impacts of collaborative production.
Published in: PLATE – Product lifetimes and the environment : 3rd PLATE Conference, September 18–20, 2019 Berlin, Germany, Universitätsverlag der TU Berlin
Published by ISBN 978-3-7983-3125-9