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Airbnb to roll out ‘shared city’ plan in Portland

“Imagine a city that fosters community, where space is shared with others.”


EJ Dickson


“Imagine if you could build a city that is shared. Where people become micro-entrepreneurs, and local mom and pops flourish once again. Imagine a city that fosters community, where space isn’t wasted, but shared with others.”

This might sound a bit like twee ad-speak to you, like the voiceover for a car commercial or an organic menstrual product spot. But it is not a car commercial or an ad for a hemp tampon. It’s a Medium post for Airbnb’s Shared City plan, an ambitious initiative that’s about to roll out in Portland, Ore.

According to the post, the plan is designed to “help civic leaders and our community create more shareable, more livable cities through relevant, concrete actions and partnerships.”

So what, exactly, does this initiative entail? Basically, Airbnb will make it easier for hosts to give back to the Portland community by donating a percentage of Airbnb earnings to a local cause. Airbnb will also match the donations with a percentage of its own fees.

In an effort to encourage home safety, Airbnb will also make free smoke and carbon monoxide detectors available to all hosts throughout the Portland area. It is also collecting and remitting taxes to Portland on behalf of Airbnb hosts, and planning to work with the city’s tourism bureau to encourage travel to the city. (What, Portlandia didn’t do the trick?)

Is Airbnb’s shared city plan an attempt to combat some, er, bad press it’s received in recent months, as well as cities claiming Airbnb violates “illegal hotel laws”? Yeah, probably, to some extent. But imagine if you could really build a city that is shared, where people become micro-entrepreneurs, and local mom-and-pop shops flourish once again! That sounds nice. Cue the ukulele soundtrack and montages of laughing white people drinking coffee and playing bongos.

H/T Medium | Photo by Mr. Thomas/Flickr (CC BY – SA 2.0)

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