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Airbnb Versus New York: Housing in an Age of Short-term Rentals

11/20 Tuesday | 12pm

NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge invites you to a talk with David Wachsmuth, Canada Research Chair in Urban Governance at McGill University, on short-term rentals (STRs), an increasingly urgent topic of concern for urban policymakers and community groups in cities around the world.

Every night millions of travelers stay in accommodations booked through Airbnb or HomeAway, the two leading STR platforms. Meanwhile, dozens of cities have taken regulatory action against these companies, primarily to restrict full-time, whole-unit listings which are increasingly seen to remove rental housing from the market. Yet despite this explosion of activity and policy interest, still relatively little is known about the impacts of STRs on local economies, housing supply, and everyday life. Using big data, spatial analysis, and key-informant interviews, Wachsmuth asks the question of what the “platform economy” firm Airbnb is actually a platform for. He will discuss how claims that Airbnb is enabling a new form of home sharing are overblown; instead, the platform appears largely to be a new mechanism for commercial landlords to extract profit from the housing market, and for commodifying residents’ relationship with their homes. Join us to explore the impacts Airbnb is having on local housing and the new economic and social relations it is facilitating in cities, as well as existing and possible urban regulatory responses to the challenges of STRs.

David Wachsmuth is the Canada Research Chair in Urban Governance at McGill University, where he is also an assistant professor of urban planning. He directs UPGo, the Urban Politics and Governance research group at McGill, which investigates urban governance problems which exceed the spatial and conceptual boundaries of the city. His recent publications have examined large-scale local economic development partnerships in the United States, new forms of sustainability thinking in global urban policy, and the impact of global capital flows on local housing markets. He is the Early Career Editor of the scholarly journal Territory, Politics, Governance, and sits on the editorial boards of Urban Planning and Urban Geography.

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