In 2013, I was invited to speak about the Sharing Economy at Greenfest in Portugal. Back then, the term was little known in the country and my trip served to sew the seeds of what has now become a thriving sector. In the audience at Greenfest 2013 was a sustainability consultant and environmental activist, Candida Rato. Inspired by my talk, she decided to launch The People Who Share in Portugal and build the Sharing Economy network. Candida took the seed that I planted and grew it into a garden.
Fast-forward to 2016 and the Sharing Economy in Portugal is fast becoming a forest. There are now over 400 Sharing Economy projects, aps and platforms across the country, from co-working spaces like Village Underground Lisboa, to food sharing projects such as Ugly Fruit.
Lisbon’s Mayor Fernando Medina is a big advocate and property owners can rent out spare spaces for an unlimited number of nights, compared to the Sharing Economy-friendly UK which has a 90 night per year limit and ‘sharing city’ Amsterdam which has a 60 day limit.
On November 3rd, I headed out to Portugal with photographer Sophie Sheinwald, for the first stop on our project: Generation Share. For Generation Share, we’ll be travelling the world, meeting and documenting the people behind the Sharing Economy.
We journeyed to Lisbon courtesy of super sharers Organii who, in exchange for me speaking at their Organii Eco-Market event, supported our trip and made it possible (big sharing thanks to Filipa and Catia). The Organii Eco-Market brought together 10,000 people and partners from all over Portugal and further afield to share ideas, eco-goods, knowledge, skills and the wonderful Repair Café.
Our book, Generation Share which we hope to crowdfund and self-publish at the end of 2017 will be made entirely through sharing. We borrowed audio equipment (thanks to Will Waghorn) so we could film and record interviews with sharers across the world. Our home for 4 days was the LxFactory – a former abandoned textiles factory and printing press that has been completely regenerated and now is Lisbon’s centre for the Sharing Economy. The Sharing Economy and the LxFactory thrive thanks to government policies include phasing out rent controls, and selling hundreds of empty properties at auctions helping to transform Lisbon into a super sharing city.
The LxFactory area makes use of previously discarded materials, buildings and transport, transforming them into to co-working spaces, art installations, independent restaurants, café’s, galleries and artisan shops.
We stayed in the LxFactory’s shared accommodation called The Dorm where we met Georgia who runs the place – a wonderful sharer; Australian-born Georgia is a world traveler who shares, swaps and exchanges every day. Simon, Kiko and Pedro run Simon Says – who offer visitors local tours and shared experiences and believe sharing can change the world. Maria Ines Nunes is a passionate sharer who has embedded sharing into many aspects of her life – from sharing her time teaching children in Malawi, to swapping gymnastic lessons for Portuguese classes!
Here’s a short vlog of Generation Share Portugal created by Sophie to bring you the people who share in Portugal, offering a taste of how the country is embracing the Sharing Economy and indeed a taste of our book to come -- Generation Share.
If you’d like to be included in our project Generation Share, please email us and let us know what sharing means to you, where in the world you are and why you’d like to be part of it.