Published by SHARECITY on the 3rd March 2016.
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.
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