Sharing Resources to Solve Urban Challenges

By encouraging the sharing of idle services and products, Seoul Metropolitan Government reduces unnecessary resource use and waste while boosting local businesses.

The City of Seoul is making efficient use of its existing public and private resources by encouraging the sharing of everything from cars and parking spaces to children’s clothing and food. The city’s sharing services currently boast 116 tool lending libraries, 8,900 car sharing users, and 115 communal book shelves, just to name a few offerings, all easily navigated through digital platforms. To encourage the sharing of products and services, in 2015 Seoul Metropolitan Government financially supported 57 sharing businesses, such as car-sharing companies Green Car and Socar, with more than $4,200 per company to raise awareness of their services. It will promote 300 businesses until 2018 as part of the project. This active public support also means the city is participating in resource and information sharing by, for instance, currently allowing citizens to use 1,700 idle spaces in public or government-owned facilities and access 4,237 data sets.

Relevance of solution

With a population density fi ve times that of New York City, Seoul is a very resource-constrained city. The Sharing City Seoul project mitigates this challenge by promoting the shared use of both public and private resources, while at the same time boosting civic engagement and supporting local businesses.

Triple Bottom Line


Promoting car-sharing services, such as Na-Num Cars’ 1,922 on-demand vehicles, reduces the need for private vehicle ownership, which can help reduce urban CO2 emissions.


Since 2013, Kiple, a company that shares children’s clothes, shared about 8 million pieces of children’s clothing by affiliating with 230 daycare centers, saving parents money and reducing textile waste.


The economic savings of sharing parking spaces, opening public facilities, and sharing cars in 2015 was nearly $42 million, according to the city government.