We love an urban service system that makes transportation easier, takes cars off the road, and brings communities into more frequent interaction. Things like cabspotting, carsharing and bike lending all offer these benefits, and numerous cities have caught on and joined in.
On Earth Day -- one of the most popular launch dates of little green start-ups -- a new online service kicked off which aims to address some of the issues inherent in systems like carsharing, and make connecting and sharing within local urban contexts easy. It's called GoLoco.org, and at first glance it appears to be a hybrid of ride-seeking and social networking. Because it's web-based, it's open to far more users than most of the local carshare businesses and it's presented as a community instead of a product.
GoLoco was created by Robin Chase, founder of Zipcar (who we mentioned when GoLoco was still in development). Chase wanted to establish a lower-commitment, lower-cost means of getting from one place to another. Users join the network and then post their own information and have access to the others. Rides can be arranged as free trades, or riders can use an integrated secure online payment system to share driving costs in advance without having to do transactions in the car.
GoLoco has the added benefit of giving users not only a way to get where they need to go, but also the option to find a place they might want to go, or an interesting event they might want to attend with another member of the network. The social networking element of the site builds in a way to seek activity partners, shopping companions, friends with common interests...probably even a date. I can just see the personal add now:
Single male, age 30, loves carpooling, reducing carbon emissions and saving on parking fees. Seeking same for long bike rides and candle-lit conversations about congestion taxes. No single-passenger automobile drivers, please.
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Sort of related to this, I was just wondering if anyone's ever seen or heard about any movement to rent yard space, as for a garden? Connecting "yard owners" with apartment dwellers or others without space for growing things, and using either plain rents or barter.. I'm not really sure what the legal implications of such an arrangement would be. Maybe WorldChanging has covered this already somewhere? Allotments are common in Europe, but North American cities don't exactly seem planned that way, and out in suburbia I'd imagine there are at least a few people who would be happy to hand off the yard work, turning over lawns to something more useful, and maybe collect something in return..