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The Sharing Economy as an Urban Phenomenon

The Sharing Economy as an Urban Phenomenon

Nestor M. Davidson & John J. Infranca

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Need a cab? Chances are you’ll click your Uber app rather than hail or call a dispatcher. Traveling? Airbnb has hundreds of listings across neighborhoods in almost any destination city. That new Ikea shelving system you bought just too hard to put together? TaskRabbit can have someone at your door almost instantly, Allen wrench cheerfully in hand. The “sharing economy” is radically transforming transportation, accommodations, personal services, and an array of other sectors. And this new economic model is growing by leaps and bounds. Legal scholars have begun to examine many aspects of this rapidly emerging phenomenon, but an intriguing dynamic remains underappreciated in the literature. Unlike for earlier generations of disruptive technology, the regulatory response to these new entrants has primarily been at the municipal level. Where AT&T, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and other earlier waves of technological innovation primarily faced federal (and international) regulatory scrutiny, sharing enterprises are being shaped by zoning codes, hotel licensing regimes, taxi medallion requirements, insurance mandates, and similar distinctly local legal issues.

Professor, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Faculty Co-Director, Urban Law Center, Fordham Law School. Assistant Professor, Suffolk University Law School. For helpful feedback on earlier drafts of this Article, the authors wish to thank Richard Briffault, Robert Ellickson, Sheila Foster, Janice Griffith, Clare Huntington, Sarah Light, Nisha Mistry, Daniel Rodriguez, David Schleicher, and Kellen Zale, as well as participants in the Second Annual International and Comparative Urban Law Conference at the Sorbonne, Paris, the Legal Scholarship 4.0 Conference at Northeastern University School of Law, the Third Annual Local Government Works in Progress Conference at Rutgers School of Law, and faculty workshops at CUNY School of Law and Suffolk University Law School. Shawn Fateh, Houston Armstrong, Ellen Callahan, and Hannah Vail provided excellent research assistance.

Cite this article:

Nestor M. Davidson & John J. Infranca

,

The Sharing Economy as an Urban Phenomenon

, 34 Yale L. & Pol'y Rev. 215 (2016).