Reimagining Cities: Sharing Apps
Peerby is a new local-lending app that enables users to share everyday household items – such as a tent or tennis racket – in an attempt to create "sharing cities". The app, developed by a Dutch start-up of the same name, won the $5,000 award for best urban app at the 2014 New Cities Summit held last month in Texas, US.
Peerby users can send out a request for the item they want to borrow, such as a lawnmower, power drill or paddling pool, and nearby users are notified of the request. Fellow users can then choose if they want to lend the item out, and specify the time period for the rental.
The idea for the app emerged four years ago, when Peerby co-founder Daan Weddepohl's Amsterdam apartment burnt down in a fire. It made him realise all the resources that would be available to him if everyone shared their possessions rather than keeping them to themselves.
The concept of a sharing society has become more popular over the past few years, as space-starved millennials look to cut down on clutter and save cash – see Next-Gen Kin for more. Many apps at the recent AppMyCity competition hinged on the idea; one of the runners-up to Peerby was Social Cyclist, an app that allows cyclists to share routes, report hazards and arrange meeting points with fellow cyclists and local governments.