Rather than build new subdivisions or sustainable skyscrapers, how can we reuse, reorganize, share, and extend the lifespans of our homes, land, and possessions? What do we need — communities, trust, real-time information? — and can online tools create offline opportunities?
Greg Lindsay asks: How can technology make more efficient use of the buildings and resources we already have?
Landshare answers: It’s often the simple ideas that are the most effective. There is a term called ‘collaborative consumption’ which is layman’s terms means ‘sharing through technology’. It’s a movement born of the internet that allows people to recycle, reuse and distribute. Amongst the ideas in this collective include sharing power tools, bikes, parking spots, clothes, taxies and now gardens and urban spaces.
Landshare came about because of several reasons. In UK cities there is a huge demand to grow you own vegetables and become more self-sufficient. However the amount of allotments available in big cities has dramatically reduced over the past 50 years. Waiting lists for allotments has increased to 10 years in some parts of the country. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was filming a series of River Cottage in 2008 when he helped renovate some derelict land and share it with a neighbourhood for them to grow their own veg. Soon after he realised that this kind of project could work nationally and Landshare was born in 2009.
Landshare connects growers with people who have spare land. It allows people to make use of the space that already exists in towns and cities thus not requiring any redevelopment or building. It now has almost 70,000 active users and successful sites in the UK, Canada and Australia. It’s regularly mentioned in the press and is even discussed in parliament as a fantastic use of resources.
The website is simple, you can either register as a grower, sharer or helper. You post a listing and search for other listings close to you. When you find a match then arrange to meet and start your growing relationship. All parties involved often share the produce too.