The concept of ownership, once a coveted privilege, is losing cachet among young consumers who tend to value flexibility
over the long-term obligations of outright possession. As a result, sharing and rental programs have become ubiquitous
over the past several years. The latest iterations, however, require even lesser commitments from users.
: Zipcar popularized the car-sharing model
for would-be drivers seeking to avoid monthly car payments and parking hassles. Car2Go
, a more recent entrant to the nouveau rental car landscape
, one ups its forebears with an exceptionally elastic system that allows members to borrow wheels for one-way trips, and a per minute pricing structure that’s more conducive to quick errands. Moreover, Car2Go locations are not limited to designated garages and lots; rather, the company’s cars are scattered across cities in convenient free “parkspots.” A subsidiary of German luxury automaker Daimler, Car2Go is now in 16 European and North American cities.
: A 2010 study projected that, by 2020, 40% of the US workforce will be comprised of so-called contingent workers
—a phenomenon likely to spur demand for workspace that's a step up from a laptop on one’s couch. For many flexible workers, however, the monthly rates of co-working environments can be too steep since they often don't know when their next paycheck will come. Enter Breather
, a more economical alternative that provides members with a platform to find and rent private workspaces on an hourly, on-demand basis. Meditation, napping, and client meetings are among other recommended uses, though “love hotel”
is conspicuously absent.
: While some NYC residents are infuriated with the “corporate appropriation of bike culture,”
most are embracing the long-awaited Citibike bike sharing
system as a convenient commuting method. The only problem is that casual users of the communal bikes often leave their heads unprotected, putting themselves at risk amid urban traffic. Boston-based HelmetHub
may offer a solution for cyclists who don’t want to carry helmets around all day. The company makes solar-powered vending machines from which bike share users can rent helmets for point A-to-point B use. Germaphobes
, rest assured: all helmets are inspected and sanitized before being put back into circulation.