Mayors across US move to embrace the sharing economy, but the war is far from over

Mayors across US move to embrace the sharing economy, but the war is far from over

Hot off the presses from Airbnb’s PR machine, we’re hearing word of a new initiative dubbed “Resolution No. 87,” which — co-sponsored by mayors from across the US, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia — will lead 15 different cities to “review and address regulations” that cause roadblocks for sharing economy startups like Airbnb.

But first, to clarify the buzzphrase: the sharing economy simply describes a system where owners can share (rent) services with others; Airbnb lets apartment owners host guests, TaskRabbit let’s anyone rent out their free time, and Lyft connects car owners with people that need rides.

Resolution No. 87

The resolution, which legally is more of a goal than a guarantee from attendees of The U.S. Conference of Mayors, acknowledges that the sharing economy serves a purpose, and says cities should encourage such behavior. More specifically, it states that the 15 co-sponsoring US mayors involved will focus on:

  • creating local task forces to review and address regulations that may hinder participants in the Sharing Economy and proposing revisions that ensure public protection as well; and
  • playing an active role in making appropriate publicly owned assets available for maximum utilization by the general public through proven sharing mechanisms.
Resolution No. 87 is certainly the best news Airbnb’s heard since being legalized in Amsterdam…

Again, this doesn’t mean it’s clear seas from now on for every sharing economy startup, but it’s a milestone of a blessing compared to what’s happened lately. As we’ve previously detailed, one New York Airbnb host, for example, potentially faced fines of up to $40,000, while another case led Airbnb to intervene in the legal process — without success.

Lyft, Sidecar and InstantCab aren’t strangers to legal struggles, either.

In any event, Resolution No. 87 is certainly the best news Airbnb’s heard since being legalized in Amsterdam, and this could pave the way for proper legalization in the long-run.

Update 5:48 PM ET: Here’s the full list of sponsors:

Ed Lee of San Francisco, Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, Francis Slay of St. Louis, Jonathan Rothschild of Tucson, Charlie Hales of Portland, Thomas Menino of Boston, Carolyn Goodman of Las Vegas, Michael Bloomberg of New York, Greg Fischer of Louisville, Christopher Cabaldon of West Sacramento, Bill Harrison of Fremont, Frank Cownie of Des Moines and Bill Finch of Bridgeport.

Image credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

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