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Robbing the hood : finding solutions for regulating the rental accommodation sector of the for-profit sharing economy in Berlin

Beyers, Felix LU (2017) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20171
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract (Swedish)
The sharing economy is currently widely discussed and politically of great importance, especially in urban areas. After a first rise in public interest due to a potential decrease of consumption, engaged actors are now calling for regulation mechanisms to defend the concept against the co-option by large incumbent firms, who transform the original idea into new economic opportunities. The accommodation sector of the for-profit sharing economy represents such an example that creates political conflicts as it has the potential to contribute to gentrification and displacement in cities. Critics argue that letting short-term accommodation on unregulated peer-2-peer marketplaces has a negative impact on the rental market. Proponents argue for... (More)
The sharing economy is currently widely discussed and politically of great importance, especially in urban areas. After a first rise in public interest due to a potential decrease of consumption, engaged actors are now calling for regulation mechanisms to defend the concept against the co-option by large incumbent firms, who transform the original idea into new economic opportunities. The accommodation sector of the for-profit sharing economy represents such an example that creates political conflicts as it has the potential to contribute to gentrification and displacement in cities. Critics argue that letting short-term accommodation on unregulated peer-2-peer marketplaces has a negative impact on the rental market. Proponents argue for the contrary and highlight its chance for decreasing consumption, lower costs and more authentic travel experiences. In Berlin, local administration has intervened by introducing a new law that restricts short-term rental activities, yet perpetuates the debate between administration, citizens, politicians and other engaged actors.
This thesis draws upon Critical Urban Theory, the Right to the City concept, Gentrification Theory and the concept of Tourism Gentrification, to study the problems created through the accommodation sector of the for-profit sharing economy in the capital of Germany, and shows how Berlin's city administration addresses the issues. Interviews with various actors help to understand the societal effects of the new economic phenomenon and its regulation to shed light on the pros and cons for urban sustainability. Finally, this paper answers the question on how regulation mechanisms could be optimized.
The results indicate that the accommodation sector of the for-profit sharing economy in Berlin - most likely - play only a minor role in gentrification and displacement because users represent only a minor proportion of all tourists in the city. Simultaneously, Berlin goes through a process of migration and delayed urban development with still one of the cheapest rental markets in comparison to other European cities, which has more profound impacts on gentrification. However, the business contributes to multiple gentrification processes effects and represents a new economic phenomenon, for which current regulations and policy tools are ill suited. There is a need for more targeted and differentiated regulatory mechanisms to adapt to the various forms of exploitation. Furthermore, mediation strategies need to be fostered and financed by the administration to promote meaningful discussions. Broader research on the effects of the accommodation sector of the sharing economy is needed and can help to understand and tackle these issues. (Less)
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author
Beyers, Felix LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Berlin, mediation, sustainability science, accommodation sector, regulation, sharing economy
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2017:046
language
English
id
8915940
date added to LUP
2017-06-20 13:17:11
date last changed
2017-06-20 13:17:11
@misc{8915940,
  abstract     = {The sharing economy is currently widely discussed and politically of great importance, especially in urban areas. After a first rise in public interest due to a potential decrease of consumption, engaged actors are now calling for regulation mechanisms to defend the concept against the co-option by large incumbent firms, who transform the original idea into new economic opportunities. The accommodation sector of the for-profit sharing economy represents such an example that creates political conflicts as it has the potential to contribute to gentrification and displacement in cities. Critics argue that letting short-term accommodation on unregulated peer-2-peer marketplaces has a negative impact on the rental market. Proponents argue for the contrary and highlight its chance for decreasing consumption, lower costs and more authentic travel experiences. In Berlin, local administration has intervened by introducing a new law that restricts short-term rental activities, yet perpetuates the debate between administration, citizens, politicians and other engaged actors. 
This thesis draws upon Critical Urban Theory, the Right to the City concept, Gentrification Theory and the concept of Tourism Gentrification, to study the problems created through the accommodation sector of the for-profit sharing economy in the capital of Germany, and shows how Berlin's city administration addresses the issues. Interviews with various actors help to understand the societal effects of the new economic phenomenon and its regulation to shed light on the pros and cons for urban sustainability. Finally, this paper answers the question on how regulation mechanisms could be optimized. 
The results indicate that the accommodation sector of the for-profit sharing economy in Berlin - most likely - play only a minor role in gentrification and displacement because users represent only a minor proportion of all tourists in the city. Simultaneously, Berlin goes through a process of migration and delayed urban development with still one of the cheapest rental markets in comparison to other European cities, which has more profound impacts on gentrification. However, the business contributes to multiple gentrification processes effects and represents a new economic phenomenon, for which current regulations and policy tools are ill suited. There is a need for more targeted and differentiated regulatory mechanisms to adapt to the various forms of exploitation. Furthermore, mediation strategies need to be fostered and financed by the administration to promote meaningful discussions. Broader research on the effects of the accommodation sector of the sharing economy is needed and can help to understand and tackle these issues.},
  author       = {Beyers, Felix},
  keyword      = {Berlin,mediation,sustainability science,accommodation sector,regulation,sharing economy},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Robbing the hood : finding solutions for regulating the rental accommodation sector of the for-profit sharing economy in Berlin},
  year         = {2017},
}