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Community and the rise of the sharing economy

Right now in the real estate sector, we’re seeing a shift towards sharing based products, services and brands. A digitally-driven sharing economy is playing a major role in this trend: technology has created more choice, more competition and in turn a greater selection of products, services and high quality brands that are attainable to a broader cross-section of society. Behavioural changes are also at play, as we increasingly favour access and experience over ownership. But the rise of sharing can also be attributed to a growing need for social connection and community.

We are seeing social and business displacement in major cities across the world and as a consequence, the rise of loneliness and isolation. It is therefore critical that community-focused models come forward to address the modern challenges faced by people living and working in our cities.

Social interaction and community are age-old pillars of a successful and sustainable society. People are naturally drawn to each other. This is the reason why the music and sports industries are so big. They draw hundreds of thousands of people to a single venue for a single event, and have been doing so for centuries.

Social interaction and community are age-old pillars of a successful and sustainable society.

Community is a core value of our business at The Collective. It is embedded in everything that we do – our aim is to connect and bring people together. Our co-living development at The Collective Old Oak has provided valuable insights on how to connect and create a diverse and inclusive community. Now, The Collective’s Community and Impact teams, and The Collective Foundation – our charitable initiative – are creating programmes to promote and support community cohesion.

The primary focus of our Community team is to engage and build relationships between the community at The Collective Old Oak and the wider local community. They are currently working with The Collective Foundation on the Moonshots Initiative, a micro-grant programme that awards innovative teams of members who put forward an idea for a project that contributes positively to the local community in and around the neighbourhood. Applicants are required to come up with a plan for a solution that responds directly to the challenges and needs of the local area. The response from our neighbours has been extremely positive. Amanda, a local community member, described our community outreach programmes as: “life changing for local residents.”

Meanwhile, The Collective Ambassador Programme is designed to identify, nurture and engage the most passionate members of our community. The primary objective is to elevate the community experience for all members by giving them responsibilities within the community, as well as nurture a bottom-up culture that empowers our members to contribute their skills and passions to the group.

On a wider scale, The Collective Foundation’s Global Accelerator programme combines the principles of technology and community to support and accelerate social impact entrepreneurs and their businesses across the globe. The initiative involves a four-week residential programme at The Collective Old Oak which brings together experienced entrepreneurs, experts and mentors from the tech sector, investors, and members of the local community.

The upshot of our approach is a vibrant community with a diverse mix of people from a range of different backgrounds and life experiences. We are always working to create new opportunities and platforms to help bring people together and improve the overall quality of life in the area, in line with our mission as a business.

From my perspective, it’s inspiring to drive forward this innovative sharing model with community at its heart, as we expand and move into new cities across the world.