Between the Digital and the Physical: Reinventing the Spaces to Accommodate Sharing Services
The sharing economy is based on a mentality shift of the people that are everyday more lean to share their private life through the social networks with a resulting establishment of a collective consciousness and an increase of trust in each other through the act of sharing. Consequently, the physical spaces must also be considered today as new entities involved in the phenomena of sharing, supporting, together with their environmental, functional and aesthetic characteristics, the various sharing activities. Moreover, in the information society, we live simultaneously in different spaces and times and the digital access to services sometimes needs to be transformed into something more physical to permit the real exchange of experience and knowledge, to meet real people in a material arena. The boundary between virtual and physical space is getting everyday thinner and more invisible because, nowadays, digital devices are defining the landscape in the urban scenario, establishing interactions and links regardless of the materiality of a place itself. What happens is a sort of dematerialization of the physical space which supports a no-stop digital flow, filtered by the social system of relationships. People in fact assume the role of the interface between the two spaces, defining urban landscape and spatial relationships through digital systems. According to the principles of sharing economy, people may act as a physical link into the space in order not to lose the relationships that take place in the physical dimension, while the current social life is quickly shifting to a virtual scale. Sharing activities in the public space would transform the city scenario itself into a stage for people aggregation, where users generate an online/offline information’ landscape through physical–digital actions, defining and designing at the same time flow patterns in both physical and virtual spaces. In this context, the aim of this chapter is to analyse how the use of space changes in the different sharing services and how it should be redesigned to accommodate them to the best, according to experts of spatial design.