The Madeleine Brand Show for June 20, 2012

Shared economy brings more tourists, but less tax revenue, to cities

Courtesy of Airbnb

A screenshot from the Airbnb home page.

Today's the first official day of summer, maybe you're going away soon. But maybe instead of a hotel, you're renting someone's home through a website like Airbnb, or HomeAway.com.

These sites are increasingly popular, and examples of the new 'share economy.' People can now share things like cars through ZipCar, or personal assistants through Task Rabbit.

But cities are now in an awkward position, they love the tourists these sites bring, but they don't pay hotel taxes, and that's turning out to be a problem as more an more apartments get turned into getaway pads.

San Francisco is at the heart of this movement. In March, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee created The Sharing Economy Working Group, and for more on how San Francisco is dealing with this new frontier of tourism, we turn to Stephen Jones, city editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Guest:

Stephen Jones, city editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian.


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