A Framework for Assessing Democratic Qualities in Collaborative Economy Platforms: Analysis of 10 Cases in Barcelona
1.1. Collaborative Economy
1.2. Previous Attempts to Classify Models of Collaborative Economy
1.3. A Framework of Democratic Qualities of Collaborative Economy Platforms
2. Materials and Methods
- Projects with activity in Barcelona.
- Projects based on collaborative production.
- Projects with a significant level of activity, rather than in a very preliminary stage.
- Projects with a social orientation, meaning closer to the cooperative platform than to the unicorn platform scope.
- We selected the cases to ensure diversity, and based on being significantly relevant.
2.2. Indicators Criteria
2.3. Analytical Methods
3. Results: Analytical Framework for the Democratic Qualities of 10 Cases of Collaborative Economy in Barcelona
3.1. The Democratic Qualities of 10 Cases of Collaborative Economies in Barcelona
3.1.1. El Recetario
- Governance: Voluntary open participation.
- Economic model: Participated in a Universidad Internacional de Andalucia (UNIA) match-funding Goteo campaign (2015), which allows them to improve the project. However, a sustainable economic model is not yet defined.
- Technological policy: The technological platform is developed in Wordpress and, despite being planned, the whole platform code is not yet open.
- Knowledge policy: At the same time, the content is under a Creative Commons license (BY-SA. 4.0 copyleft license).
- Social responsibility: El Recetario is in the transition of becoming a consumer/producer cooperative platform.
3.1.2. SMart IB
- Governance: A governing board makes the decisions of the cooperative, and the users are invited once or twice a year to hold an assembly.
- Governance: Voluntary open participation.
- Economic model: Each member pays a 150 € initial share capital contribution and 7.5% services commission. With this capital, the organization pays members’ bills in advance.
- Technological policy: There is no technological platform running yet.
- Knowledge policy: The knowledge generated is not open.
- Social responsibility: The project promotes cultural and artistic activity.
- Governance: As a foundation, the decision-making process is carried by a small group of people.
- Economic model: Users pay a 4% commission, but the promoters intend to arrive at 0%.
- Technological policy: Software is subject to a copyleft license (AGPL).
- Knowledge policy: Some platform data are freely downloadable.
- Social responsibility: In terms of social impact, all projects which participate in campaigns must define the social responsibility of their actions.
- Governance: A membership cooperative governance is planned.
- Economic model: The intention is to found the platform with membership fees.
- Technological policy: The platform is developed with open software.
- Knowledge policy: The contents are under a Creative Commons (BY NC) license.
- Social responsibility: The project focuses on connecting producers and consumers in terms of social justice.
- Governance: Annual assembly, they use Loomio groups as a framework of members’ participation.
- Economic model: All economic information is published on the website. The project is supported by membership fees and a small number of monthly voluntary donations, which are not enough to invest in improving the project, this being just the developer’s task.
- Technological policy: Public domain license.
- Knowledge policy: Wiki space under public domain license.
- Social responsibility: Large number of organizations and users.
- Governance: Open forum participation moderated by research members.
- Economic model: Growth has been deliberately slow to avoid any financial problems, which could force it to close. The majority of limited economic sources are from research. Promoters are studying new ways of funding based on different types of users or a Wikimedia donations model.
- Technological policy: Open source platform.
- Knowledge policy: Creative Commons license (CC BY) and data are open.
- Social responsibility: Most creators or producers use FreeSound to find sound sources.
- Governance: Periodic assembly meeting.
- Economic model: Everybody could use it for free, but if somebody gets economic profit from the network they must pay for it.
- Technological policy: The project, based on a replicable open digital infrastructure, is just starting.
- Knowledge policy: Open data.
- Social responsibility: The main objective of the project is based on inclusion.
- Governance: The decision-making process of participation focuses on local sovereignty and global federation.
- Economic model: The possibility of agreement with Abacus, in 2017, has allowed the project to get a new dimension by introducing machine cooperative to the recycling circuit. In that sense, there are good prospects for paid services growth (e.g., equipment redistribution, devices appraisal, or reporting information).
- Technological policy: Based on decentralized open-source software.
- Knowledge policy: Open data.
- Social responsibility: The project is based on reuse to decrease unnecessary production impact.
- Governance: The organization works as a foundation and the participation model is open.
- Economic model: Some of the proceedings are published on the website.
- Technological policy: FOSS (LGPL3).
- Knowledge policy: Open data.
- Social responsibility: One of the project’s objectives is to avoid duplicate networks.
3.1.10. Pam a Pam
- Governance: Periodic members’ assemblies and open participation.
- Economic model: A grant from Barcelona City Council, proposed by Setem, allowed the initial founding. In 2014, a European grant permitted the incorporation of territorial facilitators and launched a new website that was more systematic and elaborate.
- Technological policy: FOSS.
- Knowledge policy: Open data on demand. The new website will allow it to be downloaded.
- Social responsibility: The whole project is linked to the social and solidarity economy.
3.2. Curve of Growth and Evolutionary Stages of the Cases
3.3. Case Comparison Analysis
Conflicts of Interest
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|GOV||Type of organization||Procommon organization (public administration)||Democratic type of governance (foundation, association, cooperative)||Private company|
|Open participation||Governance is based on open participation||Some participation tools are provided||No participation tools are provided|
|Transparency||Any member of organization can access to the economic information||Some economic information is accessible to the community||No economic information is provided|
|TECH||Free and open-source software (FOSS)||All tech tools are based on FOSS||Some of tech tools are based on FOSS||No tech tool is based on FOSS|
|Decentralized||Tech architecture is fully decentralized||Tech architecture is partially decentralized||Tech architecture is centralized|
|KNOWL||Copyleft||Content licenses are copyleft||Part of the contents are open access||All rights of contents are reserved|
|Open data||All data are downloadable||Some data are downloadable||No data are downloadable|
|SOC||Inclusion||Project has a relevant role in inclusion||Project has some inclusion policies||No policy or action about inclusion|
|Green||Project has a relevant role in environment||Project has some environment policies||No policy or action about environment|
|GOV||Type of organization|
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Fuster Morell, M.; Espelt, R. A Framework for Assessing Democratic Qualities in Collaborative Economy Platforms: Analysis of 10 Cases in Barcelona. Urban Sci. 2018, 2, 61. https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2030061
Fuster Morell M, Espelt R. A Framework for Assessing Democratic Qualities in Collaborative Economy Platforms: Analysis of 10 Cases in Barcelona. Urban Science. 2018; 2(3):61. https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2030061Chicago/Turabian Style
Fuster Morell, Mayo, and Ricard Espelt. 2018. "A Framework for Assessing Democratic Qualities in Collaborative Economy Platforms: Analysis of 10 Cases in Barcelona" Urban Science 2, no. 3: 61. https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2030061