Publications

    2017 - Publications

  • Briefing Note #1: The SHARECITY100 Database

    SHARECITY Briefing Note #1

    This briefing note provides a high level summary of findings from the SHARECITY100 Database, the initial phase of the SHARECITY project, which details and categorises more than 4000 initiatives from 100 cities across 44 countries and six continents. The resulting food sharing database is both productive and performative; progressing understanding of, and making visible, the multiple and hybrid ways in which food (and food-related stuff, spaces and skills) is shared across diverse urban settings.

    Please Cite as: Davies, A., and Weymes, M. (2017) SHARECITY Briefing Note 1: The SHARECITY100 Database, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

     

     

     

  • Creative construction: crafting, negotiating and performing urban food sharing landscapes

    Please view full paper here.

    Activities utilising online tools are an increasingly visible part of our everyday lives, providing new subjects, objects and relationships – essentially new landscapes – for research, as well as new conceptual and methodological challenges for researchers. In parallel, calls for collaborative interdisciplinary, even transdisciplinary, research are increasing. Yet practical guidance and critical reflection on the challenges and opportunities of conducting collaborative research online, particularly in emergent areas, is limited. In response, this paper details what we term the ‘creative construction’ involved in a collaborative project building an exploratory database of more than 4000 food sharing activities in 100 cities that utilise internet and digital technologies in some way (ICT mediated for brevity) to pursue their goals. The research was undertaken by an international team of researchers, including geographers, which utilised a combination of reflexive coding and online collaboration to develop a system for exploring the practice and performance of ICT-mediated food sharing in cities. This paper will unpack the black box of using the internet as a source of data about emergent practices and provide critical reflection on that highly negotiated and essentially handcrafted process. While the substance of the paper focuses on the under-determined realm of food sharing, a site where it is claimed that ICT is transforming practices, the issues raised have resonance far beyond the specificities of this particular endeavour. While challenging, we argue that handcrafting systems for navigating emergent online data is vital, not least to render visible the complexities and contestations around definition, categorisation and translation.

  • Sharing economies: moving beyond binaries in a digital age

    Please view full paper here.

    In periods of turbulence, the tendency to simplify messages and polarise debates is nothing new. In our hyper-mediated world of online technologies, where it seems that even national policy can be forged in the 140 characters of Twitter, it is more important than ever to retain spaces for in-depth debate of emergent phenomena that have disruptive and transformative potential. In this article, we follow this logic and argue that to fully understand the diverse range of practices and potential consequences of activities uncomfortably corralled under the ambiguous term ‘the sharing economy’ requires not a simplification of arguments, but an opening out of horizons to explore the many ways in which these phenomena have emerged and are evolving. It is argued that this will require attention to multiple terrains, from diverse intellectual traditions across many disciplines to the thus far largely reactive responses of government and regulation, and from the world of techno-innovation start-ups to the optics of media (including social media) reporting on what it means to ‘share’ in the 21st century. Building on this, we make the case for viewing ‘the sharing economy’ as a matrix of diverse economies with clear links to past practices. We propose that to build a grammar for understanding these diverse sharing economies requires further attention to: (1) The etymology of sharing and sharing economies; (2) The differentiated geographies to which sharing economies contribute; (3) What it means to labour, work and be employed in sharing economies; (4) The role of the state and others in governing, regulating and shaping the organisation and practice of sharing economies; and (5) the impacts of sharing economies. In conclusion, we suggest that while media interest may fade as their presence in everyday lives becomes less novel, understanding sharing economies remains an urgent activity if we are to ensure that the new ways of living and labouring, to which sharing economies are contributing, work to promote sustainable and inclusive development in this world that ultimately we all share.

  • Making visible: Interrogating the performance of food sharing across 100 urban areas

    Please view full paper here.

    Interpersonal sharing of food has been an omnipresent feature of human civilisation from hunter-gatherer societies to the present, both as a mechanism through which sustenance is secured and as a means to cement social relations. While the evolutionary dynamism of this food sharing is relatively well documented, critical scholarship has tended to examine contemporary food sharing practices beyond family and friends through case studies of individual initiatives. A broader view of food sharing practices is absent. In addition, there has been little examination of the role that emerging information and communication technologies (ICT) are having on food sharing, despite claims that such technologies offer transformative potential to achieve more secure, sustainable and just food systems. In response, this paper presents a novel landscape level analysis of more than 4000 ICT-mediated urban food sharing activities operating across 100 cities in six continents. Adopting conceptual insights from the intersection of social and economic practice-oriented approaches, the resulting foodsharing database progresses understanding of, and makes visible, the ways in which food (and food-related skills, stuff and spaces) is being shared across diverse urban settings. To conclude, it is argued that the database plays an important productive and performative role in mapping and comparing diverse food sharing economies. Importantly, it provides a springboard for further explanatory research to fine-tune our understanding of the evolution, governance and sustainability potential of urban food sharing.

  • Briefing Note #2: SHARECITY Profiles

    SHARECITY Briefing Note #2

    This briefing note provides an introduction to ten cities – Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Dublin, London, Melbourne, New York City, San Francisco, Singapore and Zurich – in terms of their food sharing landscape and wider socioeconomic, environmental and governing context. These cities have been selected from the SHARECITY100 database, and researchers will build on these
    profiles through in-depth ethnographic research with a number of ICT-mediated food sharing initiatives and wider stakeholders in each city.

    Please Cite as: Davies, A., and Weymes, M. (2017) SHARECITY Briefing Note 2: The SHARECITY100 Database, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

  • Food Safety Governance and Food Redistribution: A Multilevel Governance Analysis of Food Safety Policy in Urban ICT-Mediated Food Sharing

    MSc Environmental Sciences – Dissertation – Alan Dowdall

    Sustainability is a major issue facing society today, posing a number of challenges to our food, water, energy and human systems. Various international and regional attempts have been made to tackle these issues (UN, 2015; EC, 2015), with the aim of creating a more sustainable and circular economy which uses resources more efficiently. Food waste is one of the most pressing issues which must be dealt with, due to growing populations and increased pressure on land use (Scanlon, et al., 2017). The redistribution of surplus food has been identified as one of the most innovative and effective methods to help reduce food waste (Capodistrias, 2015), and its expansion and growth is encouraged by the EU (Vittuari, et al., 2016; Vituarri, et al., 2015). Food safety and hygiene regulations have been highlighted as a major barrier to this growth (Vituarri, et al., 2015). This study aims to assess the place of food safety regulation in European food redistribution organisations (FRO), and elicit the views of these organisations on regulations and how they should develop in the future. This will be carried out through a multilevel governance analysis, including European food safety policy review, national policy content analysis, surveys with local FRO and a case study on the operation of public fridges, including surveys and media analysis.

    This study found that food safety has an important place in European food policy, outlining the general risk-based, scientific approach to food safety management in several regulatory instruments. National food safety policy channels these principles into set standards and procedures, providing more practical regulation of food businesses. National food safety authorities provide viewpoints on the importance of food safety and its place in food redistribution. Local FRO place a high level of importance on food safety and clearly understand the risks it poses. They implement these standards and procedures in a number of ways to maintain food safety and prevent public health risks. The majority of FRO surveyed in this study believed that current regulations are restrictive and too strong, and would like to see changes to education and awareness are food waste issues, as well as guidelines on the interpretation of food safety regulations in redistributive services and the creation of a standard quality system for all actors involved in redistribution.

    The novel data collected in this study highlights the complexity of food waste and food safety management and the difficultly in reconciling both of their aims. Dealing with barriers such as food safety to innovative solutions like food redistribution is important to allow for their expansion and growth in accordance with proper regulations. Tackling this issue now, thorough official guidance and interpretation, allows for the optimal performance of both food redistributors and the regulations which govern them in the future.

    Keywords: food safety, food sharing, food redistribution, European policy, policy analysis.

  • 2016 - Publications

  • SHARECITY Working paper 1: Typologies of Food Sharing

    Sharing economies, particularly those enabled by internet, smart or mobile technology, are being identified across diverse territories, including the food sector, as potential means to enact urban sustainability transitions. However, to date, there has been little conceptual or empirical attention to these developments within the broad landscape of food sharing, with case study analyses of individual enterprises dominating empirical work in the field. This paper provides the first macro-geographical analysis of urban food sharing enabled by such technologies. Focusing on individual food sharing enterprises drawn from a database of more than 5000 enterprises, within 468 urban areas and 91 countries, this analysis reveals a variegated geography of food sharing in terms of location, what is being shared and the mode of food sharing adopted. Also documented is the extent to which these enterprises articulate sustainability claims from their activities and provide evidence to substantiate these claims. In conclusion, the paper outlines a strategy for connecting this macro-level analysis with the contingent material and relational practices of urban food sharing to establish more precisely its practice and sustainability potential.

  • SHARECITY Working Paper 2: Urban Food Sharing Scoping Database

    Sharing economies, particularly those enabled by internet, smart or mobile technology, are being identified across diverse territories, including the food sector, as potential means to enact urban sustainability transitions. However, to date, there has been little conceptual or empirical attention to these developments within the broad landscape of food sharing, with case study analyses of individual enterprises dominating empirical work in the field. This paper provides the first macro-geographical analysis of urban food sharing enabled by such technologies. Focusing on individual food sharing enterprises drawn from a database of more than 5000 enterprises, within 468 urban areas and 91 countries, this analysis reveals a variegated geography of food sharing in terms of location, what is being shared and the mode of food sharing adopted. Also documented is the extent to which these enterprises articulate sustainability claims from their activities and provide evidence to substantiate these claims. In conclusion, the paper outlines a strategy for connecting this macro-level analysis with the contingent material and relational practices of urban food sharing to establish more precisely its practice and sustainability potential.

  • Assessing the Sustainability of ICT Enabled Urban Food Sharing in Dublin

    Assessing the Sustainability of ICT Enabled Urban Food Sharing in Dublin

    Benjamin Murphy

    MSc. Environmental Sciences
    Trinity College
    University of Dublin
    Supervised by Dr. Anna Davies

    Word Count: 15,785 (Including headings and in-text references)

    A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Environmental Sciences, Trinity College, University of Dublin.
    October, 2016

  • 2015 - Publications

  • FARE SHARE CITIES: Transitioning to more sustainable urban eating?

    Anna R. Davies

    Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

    Working Paper – INTERNATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY TRANSITIONS CONFERENCE

    Contact: daviesa@tcd.ie

  • Transforming Household Consumption: From Backcasting to HomeLabs Experiments

    Following the rhetoric of an impending “perfect storm” of increasing demand for energy, water, and food, it is recognized that ensuring sustainability will require significant shifts in both production and consumption patterns. This recognition has stimulated a plethora of future-oriented studies often using scenario, visioning, and transition planning techniques. These approaches have produced a multitude of plans for future development, but many valorize technological fixes and give limited attention to the governance and practice of everyday consumption. In contrast, this article presents empirical findings from a practice-oriented participatory (POP) backcasting process focused on home heating, personal washing, and eating. This process provided spaces for collaborative learning, creative innovation, and interdisciplinary interaction as well as producing a suite of ideas around promising practices for more sustainable household consumption. Further action is required, however, to explore how such ideas might be translated into action. The article concludes by outlining how collaborative experiments among public, private, civil society, and citizen-consumers, or HomeLabs, provide a means to test and evaluate the promising practices developed through POP backcasting. Key Words: governance, social practices, socioecological systems, sustainable consumption, transformations.

  • Disrupting household food consumption through experimental HomeLabs: Outcomes, connections, contexts

    This article explores the implications of conceptualising, designing and implementing experimental sites seeking to support more sustainable home-based eating practices, or HomeLabs for brevity. Building on earlier phases of practice-oriented participatory backcasting and transition framework construction, the HomeLabs involved collaboration with public, private and civil society sectors and with the members of participating households. These collaborations identified a suite of supportive socio-technological, informational and governance interventions that mimicked, as far as possible, the characteristics of promising practices for sustainable eating developed through backcasting and transition planning. The implemented interventions enabled householders to question, disassemble and reconfigure their eating practices onto more sustainable pathways across the integrated practices of food acquisition, storage, preparation and waste management. This process generated manifold insights into household eating practices, and this article focuses specifically on key outcomes of the HomeLabs, and the significance of social context, social relations and micropolitics of everyday life in shaping those outcomes. In particular, the HomeLabs findings reinforce calls to connect, combine and align product, regulatory, informational and motivational supports across the interdependent practices of eating (acquisition, storage and preparation and waste recovery) to optimise transitions towards sustainability. Offering a lens to interrogate interventions for sustainable food consumption in the home, this article provides a novel exercise in operationalising social practice theory.


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