Airbnb is getting into the business of providing affordable homes through an initiative called Backyard which is to be launched in 2019. “…people will soon be able to buy homes from Airbnb that can then be rented out through Airbnb’s platform. It’s an obvious win-win for the company. But for the rest of us, it’s an example of the way companies like Airbnb — which was once relegated to one sector of the economy — are increasingly encroaching on our everyday lives. Airbnb’s foray into homebuilding suggests a future in which everything is commodified and nothing, even the home, is private…Backyard buildings, designed by Airbnb’s new in-house design studio Samara, are intended to be “optimal Airbnb rentals” and could further streamline this aesthetic. To be clear, the Backyard homes — which, by the way, won’t be located in actual backyards — won’t be limited to Airbnb hosts… While that may be true, these adaptable homes will also make it easier for people to be Airbnb hosts. Not everyone has an extra room to rent out; a Backyard home’s modular floor plan could fix that.”
This initiative by Airbnb echoes what Uber and Lyft are doing with cars (leasing and selling cars to drivers) and what Tulerie is doing with clothes (let’s users rent clothes from each other). The sharing economy is going from some of us renting parts of our houses/cars with others to all of renting almost everything we have with each other!
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