Saturday, June 17, 2017

Nobody actually lives there

The world's cities are becoming playgrounds for luxury travelers. People don't live in them anymore
Italian cities are the latest subjects of concern that Airbnb is pushing permanent residents out of historic city centres and aiding a trend in 'Disneyfication' in places such as Florence, according to a new report from the University of Siena.

The authors behind the report claim that up to one in five properties in the historic centre of Florence is being rented out through Airbnb, turning the feted city into a “theme park for tourists”.

“Almost 20 per cent of the entire housing stock in the historic centre of Florence is listed on Airbnb, which is a lot,” said Stefano Picascia, one of the authors behind the report. “Every single flat on a short-term let is one flat less in the regular long-term market.”

Picascia and his colleagues claim locals are increasingly being pushed out by tourism, which is affecting the character of Italy’s cities.

“The centre of Florence is now 'Disneyfied',” Picascia told Telegraph Travel. “It’s basically a theme park for tourists.”
Despite the fact that the STR market has been pressuring renters in New Orleans for several years now, it has only recently shown up on policymakers' radar.  But rather than doing anything helpful, last year, city council passed a massive liberalization of the city's enforcement regime becoming a partner in the "Disneyfication" of neighborhoods in exchange for what it hopes will be increased revenues collected in fees and property taxes.

Early in the process, LaToya Cantrell  signaled that renters would not be a priority to her. Speaking at this Tulane Hillel forum on gentrification two years ago, Cantrell answered questions about Airbnb driven displacement by saying only that she was interested in a "balanced" approach that would increase revenue. She also reminded the audience that it was important to remember New Orleans is a "destination city." She would go on to vote with the 5-2 majority of councilmembers who passed the (non)regulation package last December.

Today, Cantrell appeared along with Michael Bagneris at a mayoral candidates' forum hosted by Indivisible NOLA. From what I gleaned via Twitter, the Indivisibles did ask about housing this morning, but I didn't see anyone talk about short term rentals explicitly.  That's a shame since LaToya, especially should have to answer for her vote to approve the legalization during this campaign.  Plenty time left, I guess.

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