Airbnb has reprogrammed the city. The “hardware” or urban fabric remains the same, but the “software” – our use of it – has been radically reconfigured.
European summers have traditionally seen an influx of tourists to historical centres, while the local populations – the majority of whom live outside the centre – vacate to escape the summer heat. Rather than leaving their homes vulnerable and losing money on rent, many locals are choosing to sublet.
As a result, everyday neighbourhoods that would typically be in lock-down during this period have reawakened. The decentralised activity provides incentive for local businesses to continue their operation, and more eyes on the street.
Opening up the tourism industry to grassroots entrepreneurs has been a democratising process. With the redistribution of available accommodation across the city, our urban experience has changed."