RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2018

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249 Conceptualizing and decoding short-term rentals in times of digital capitalism
Convenor(s) Christian Smigiel (University of Salzburg, Austria)
Angela Hof (University of Salzburg, Austria)
Chair(s) Christian Smigiel (University of Salzburg, Austria)
Angela Hof (University of Salzburg, Austria)
Timetable Thursday 30 August 2018, Session 4 (16:50 - 18:30)
Room Bute Building - Lecture Theatre 1.40
Session abstract Short-term rentals (STR) spark media attention, public debate and diverse reactions from city governments in response to what is often labelled as sharing economy, disruptive business model or new urban tourism. These categorizations hardly capture the dynamic phenomenon that is driven by and responds to urban tourists and other transient visitors and affects and transgresses different urban material and social sub-systems: housing market, public and private space and infrastructure. And while there is a pervasive sense that STR challenge everyday urban realities, urban planning and urban policies, broader theoretical explanations are still scarce.
This session seeks to find new conceptualizations that link STR with broader processes of urban transformation and restructuring. In particular, we are interested in theoretical as well as empirical papers that combine micro- and macro-level perspectives and provide a critical analysis of different dimensions of STR (e.g. policy agendas, gentrification, urban infrastructure, financialization) in different urban settings.
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: ac2018@rgs.org
Tourism rentals in Minorca: towards new forms of non-professional gentrification?
Ismael Yrigoy (Uppsala University, Sweden)
The objectives of this paper are to analyze the geographical distribution of tourist housing rentals in different types of urban environments and to carry out a categorization of the typologies of tourism rental landlords across in Minorca. These empirical goals aim to engage with a wider theoretical goal, which is to what extent the eruption of tourism rentals means new trends within gentrification.
The paper is divided as follows. First, it grasps the geographical distribution of tourist dwellings across Minorca. Second, it analyses the different typologies of hosts as well as the relation between the geographical distribution of host typologies and the particular features of housing markets in different type of urban settlements (e.g. city centers, suburban areas, coastal touristic urbanizations). Third, it analyses also how the touristic rentals have impacted up until the present on the residential rental market and thus on the housing accessibility by Minorca inhabitants.
The paper claims that the irruption of tourism rentals in Minorca represents a continuation of classical gentrification processes, but also has important singularities. Indeed, gentrification is taking place in Minorca through an increased mobilization of urban dwellings that used to have a residential use as tourism assets by the local and non-professional middle classes. On the contrary big national and international landlords are operating in the traditional tourism housing rentals located in touristic spots, and have so far remained out of the gentrification process led by middle classes in urban areas.
Digital short-term rental platforms: effects on the housing market and urban property values in major tourist destinations in Italy
Venere Stefania Sanna (University of Rome, Italy)
Filippo Celata (University of Rome, Italy)
Cary Yungmee Hendrickson (University of Rome, Italy)
Antonello Romano (University of Rome, Italy)
The boom in peer-to-peer digital platforms increasingly allows people to share their underutilized properties, usually at a lower rate compared to those of traditional businesses, and with relatively low transaction costs. Platforms such as Airbnb provide local people with the opportunity to earn a supplementary income by taking advantage of underutilized properties. As a country, Italy has one of the biggest short-term rental markets: for example, Rome has more than 25,000 Airbnb listings, Florence more than 10,400, and Venice more than 6,000. The majority of these listings are entire homes/apartments, with a notable concentration of property owners. This fast-growing expression of platform capitalism drives an entirely new - and more profitable - logic of intermediation and value extraction in the real estate market, which feeds speculative real estate investments and favours the emergence of new elites. While much of the debate around the rapid growth of such platforms has been confined to their regulatory and fiscal issues, and to their effects on gentrification and displacement of residents, the effects of P2P-inspired use of residential buildings on urban property values and the housing market have been overlooked. This paper attempts to fill this gap by focusing on major tourist destinations in Italy, including the city of Rome. The aim is to investigate where, how, and to what extent online accommodation platforms affect real estate and rental values, how market power is distributed along the value chain, and what the consequences are for residents and specific neighbourhoods.
The effects of short-term rentals on the commodification of housing in post-socialist Budapest
Gergely Olt (Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre for Social Sciences Institute for Sociology, Hungary)
Adrienne Csizmady (Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre for Social Sciences Institute for Sociology, Hungary)
Péter Baji (Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre for Social Sciences Institute for Sociology, Hungary)
Arpád Knapp (National University of Public Service, Hungary)
Post-industrialisation increased housing prices in inner cities and certain urban areas have become ‘places of consumption’ (Smet, 2016: 500). This includes global competition for housing, which is often turned into tourism accommodation. Therefore, tourism is related to gentrification and in cities like Berlin or Barcelona the conflicts caused by short-term rentals (STR) for tourism are hot topics. In certain post-socialist cities, after the restitution process, inner city housing was often turned into hotels already in the 1990s. In other examples of post-socialist transformation – such as Budapest – commodification of housing happened more slowly because of the low price flat-by-flat privatisation to sitting tenants and the fragmented ownership structure. However, between late 2014 and 2016, inner city property prices increased by 40% in Budapest, and among other factors, the explosion of the STR sector was used as a common explanation. In this paper we present a micro scale quantitative analysis (in 500x500m grids) about the relationship between actual real estate transaction prices (from 2013, 2015 and 2016) and the presence of STR in 2016. We examine if the recent price increase was more substantial in areas with more STR units. The analysis is complemented with a long term qualitative study of ‘touristification’ based on interviews and participant observation since 2006. Our claim is that STR in otherwise dilapidated inner city buildings contributed to the commodification housing in Budapest, however other macro scale factors played a role in this process such as low interest rates and stricter mortgage lending rules after 2008.
Angela Hof (University of Salzburg, Austria)