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San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee Announces Sharing Economy Partnership for Disaster Response

Earlier this month, 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. Mayor Lee has invited BayShare, a collaborative of sharing economy stakeholders, to join San Francisco’s Disaster Council, through which it will share its 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.”

The growth of the sharing economy, also known as the collaborative consumption movement, has been driven by the success of innovative companies and organizations such as City CarShare, ZipCar, Turo, Airbnb, Parking Panda, Taskrabbit, Shareable and more, many headquartered in San Francisco and creating a growing number of local jobs and economic benefits.

The goal of this new partnership is a coordinated effort to enable local sharing services to fill in gaps in emergency services and offer additional resources to those in need during future disasters in San Francisco — for example, Lyft drivers transporting maintenance personnel to priority areas, Yerdle users offering basic supplies to those in need neighborhood by neighborhood, and BayShare member Airbnb offering free housing to those who have been displaced.

"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.”

One immediate outcome of the partnership was the launch of Airbnb’s new tool to quickly deliver free housing assistance to residents in need following a disaster. Inspired by the Airbnb community’s role in providing emergency housing to victims of Superstorm Sandy, the Airbnb team has 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 global tool that can be activated in 30 minutes or less.

“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.”

The growth of the sharing economy is being driven by both consumer demand and businesses' appetite for more sustainable growth. With more than 10,000 sharing businesses now operating globally, the economy is now valued at £330 billion globally, according to Collaborative Consumption.

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