You can borrow seeds from the library and plant them at a free urban garden in Linkoping, Source: Linköping Municipality

Linköping smartmaps its entire social economy

Linköping smartmaps its entire social economy

These enterprises and activities often go under the radar, yet they’re the ones that the city sees as exemplary for fostering a new circular society

Residents of the Swedish city of Linköping have a truly astonishing array of options if they decide to lead more sustainable, social, and community-oriented lifestyles. They could, for example, borrow seeds from a library and learn how to plant them at free urban gardens or rent a free kayak, visit an outdoor gym and finish their day browsing second-hand goods in one of the various stores available locally.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The problem is there is no way that people can be aware of most of these options. When there’s a lack of awareness, there’s also a bottleneck to progressing to a truly inclusive society that relies heavily on the so-called social economy.

That is why the municipal authorities have decided to get involved and lend a helping hand with the creation of a so-called ‘smart map’, available on the city’s website (in Swedish). The digital tool marks all the activities, businesses and organizations involved in the social and sharing economies and the places where they can be found.

Every city needs one of those

It truly is an eye-opener, as more and more people are discovering the advantages of renting, sharing, exchanging, borrowing, repairing and buying used things. The smart map could be transformative given that it could also serve as a good example to be copied by all cities across Europe.

It's about making visible initiatives and an industry that may not have much marketing muscle. Hopefully, the smart map can lead to the birth of new circular business ideas, that we increase participation in the sharing economy and promote a sharing culture,” says Sandra Viktor, project manager for Klimatneutrala Linköping.

The smart map aims to showcase the local sharing economy that often goes under the radar. Local anchoring and small scale are some of the criteria to be seen. A selection of public areas is also included. For example, public orchards, wind shelters with barbecue areas and swimming areas have the potential to be used by more people.

As for us, next time we find ourselves in Linköping, we’ll definitely hop on and take a ride on the free self-driving buses operating a 3.7-km route around Campus Valla in the city. These vehicles are being tested to become part of the city’s public transit network. And we wouldn’t have known about them if it weren’t for this handy map.

Such maps are also available for other major Swedish cities.



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