Existenzmaximum - Atlas of Shared Living. Vol. I Sharing economy

[an uncomplete, and unfinished journey through times, people, and the sharing economy.] thesis by ani safaryan

[an uncomplete, and unfinished journey through times, people, and the sharing economy.] thesis by ani safaryan


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vol. I

[ an uncomplete,

and unfinished

journey through

times, people,

and the sharing

economy. ]


by ani safaryan

Milano 2019


Ani Safaryan

Prof.: Piero Poggioli

Tutor.: Micaela Bordin

Politecnico di Milano

Scuola di Architettura

Urbanistica Ingegneria

delle Costruzioni - MI

Laurea Magistrale

Architettura MI 1136



Milano 2019

# sharing economy

Everytime the world changed around us our lifestyles and mind-sets

changed accordingly, and our homes got transformed.

The last two decades saw the technology advancing from person-al

computers to smartphones and our interractions shifting from real to the

digital realm. As the world becomes increasingly bor-derless, we get mobile

and untethered. Services like Uber, Airbnb and Netflix are gaining more

and more users and marking the passage from the market-based to crowdbased

capitalism, where access is valued more than ownership.

The industry, mobility and the market already got upgraded to the new

realities. But when was the last time our homes got re-vamped? The real

estate developers are still sticking to the old models of dwellings, which

aren’t answering our new lifestyle and needs. Isn’t it really time for the

dwelling to catch up with us?


# Sharing economy

Chapter I

“Of Millennials

and of their


manner of


Chapter II



grew up with

Technology and

where it leads


Chapter III

“Of the manner

the things are

shared, swapped,

traded and rented

in the Sharing





Chapter IV

“Of Airbnb, or

How to belong

Anywhere ”

Chapter VI



to Existenzmaximum,

Or how the Architects

designed our homes

in the last century”

Chapter VII

“Of Venice and

Shanghai and

how they treat

the Time differently”





# From Venice to Shanghai and back

Chapter I

“Of Home

as a Network”

Chapter II

“How a Palazzo

in Venice got


Chapter III

“How to move

from Venice

to Shanghai in

one day”






# Communal living

Chapter I

“How Hakka

people built


building and

lived ”

Chapter II

“What manner of


the Yanomami


Chapter III

“Of the manner the

Iroquis, the Viking

and the Austronesian

Longhouse is made”




Chapter IV

“How the Qala

Residents hid

their houses

from the

Strangers’ eyes”

Chapter V

“How people in


set their own

rules and of their

manner of living”

Chapter VI

“How Migrants

used to dwell

in Boarding





Chapter VII

“How the Squats

are vanishing

everywhere and

how people in Køpi


Chapter VIII

“How communal

dinners stopped

taking place in


Chapter VII

“Of Venice and

Shanghai and

how they treat

the Time differently”




# Author’s observations

Legal Issues

v.I, p.57


v.I, p.66

The two


v.I, p.80

The new type

of city dweller

v.I, p.95

Of Ikea and


v.III, p.21

“Each day and every hour, the telephone was

my twin brother. I was an intimate observer

of the way it rose above the humiliations of

its early years. For once the chandelier, fire

screen, potted palm, console table, gueridon,

and alcove balustrade—all formerly on

display in the front rooms—had finally faded

and died a natural death, the apparatus,

like a legendary hero ones exposed to die in

a mountain gorge, left the dark hallway in

the back of the house to make its regal entry

into this cleaner and brighter rooms that

now were inhabited by the younger generation.

For the latter, it became a consolation

for their loneliness. To the despondent who

wanted to leave this wicked world, it shone

with the light in a last hope. With the forsaken,

it shared its bed”.


Walter Benjamin “Berlin Childhood”, around 1900


Of Millennials

and of their unusual manner of living




1/4 of world’s population are millennials

it’s 1.8 bln people over the globe

the largest and most ethnically diverse generation

*and first one to think itself global

the first digitally native generation

mention the technology use as something that

distinguishes them from the older generations

think of travel as an essential part of their identity

tend to travel “as a local”

delay traditional milestones like marriage and kids

mobile, flexible and untethered

instead are always connected digitally

have a blurred boundary between life and work

tend to work while commuting or travelling and

combine business trips with leisure




age in 2018:



Silents born

Baby Boomers born


1910 1920 1930

1940 1950 1960 197


A quarter of the world’s population are millennials. It’s 1.8 bn young people born

between 1980-1996, currently between 22-37 years old. They are the largest and

most ethnically diverse generation and the first one to be digitally native.

Millennials grew up in a world of rapid technological advancements and new

opportunities, but also of huge global challenges, high youth unemployment,

unaffordable housing, low wages and an uncertain economic environment. During

the first two decades of their lives they already experienced the consequences of

past unsustainable and short-term policies and saw how fragile are the stability,

the current economical models and our planet itself.

Thanks to the media, the internet and the relative ease of travelling, millennials are

world’s first generation to grow up thinking of itself as global and responsible for

the biosphere. With that awareness, their mindset differs strongly from Generation

X, and is exactly opposite to the trends launched by Baby-Boomers: Millennials are

not individualists, but cooperative team players, most of them accept authority and

are not rule breakers. They support convention—the idea that social rules can help,

and manifest many positive social habits that were never associated with youth,

such as a new focus on collaboration, achievement, good conduct, attention to

own health and most importantly: environmental consciousness. Their choices of

products and services, their support for companies and brands and their lifestyles

are often driven by sustainability concerns, and the new economical models that

are emerging now are based on their anti-consumerist views.





22-37 1-22

X born

Millennials born

post-Millennials born

0 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030



Millennials have a set of priorities and expectations drasticly different from

previous generations, which makes them the most studied generation ever.

Governments, institutions and first of all companies and corporations put huge

efforts to understand the way the new generation lives, works and plays in order to

taylor the “supply” to the changing “demand”. Shifts and upgrades in all the aspects

of economy are unavoidable and a matter of the coming decade of years.

Being more ethnically and racially diverse than older adults, millennials are

also more tolerant of racial and cultural differences and of a wide range of nontraditional

behaviors related to marriage and parenting. In ranking their own life

priorities, Millennials (like older adults) place parenthood and marriage above

career and financial success, but they are notably less likely to be married or to

have children than earlier generations were at comparable ages. For example,

in the US in 2012 only 23% of the young adults were married, compared with the

43% of the Gen Xers in 1981 and 56% of Baby Boomers in 1968.

Milennials are city dwellers, and since housing becomes increasingly unaffordable

in large cities, adults in their peak home-buying years are instead renting longer.

The trend in delayed marriage and having fewer children later in life has led to

rising numbers of single-person household and the problem of loneliness in the

metropolitan areas. The alternative to a single-person household and to renting

is to share the household. In general, the young adults today are more likely to

be living with roommates, non-spouse partners or their parents, instead of living

with their spouse and children, than were the immediate two previous generations

at the same age.

In developed markets most of the millennials are facing the problem of unaffordable

housing. Millennial homeownership in the US and Europe is at a record low: a

millennial is not likely to buy a home without parental help or inheriting. For

instance, In Italy only 9 out of 100 youngs under 35 own the house they live in. In

UK 2/3 of millennials are forcasted to be renting their homes for the rest of their


The situation in the emerging countries such as India and China is very different.

There millennials earn comparably low wages by international standards but

are wealthy compared to their parents and grandparents. So, for instance, while

young people around the world are struggling to get a property, 70% of Chinese

millennials own their homes and a notable 91% also plan to buy a house in the

next five years.


* Eurostat data


”What do you do when you can’t afford to

buy somewhere to live? Well, you decide

to live”

Bridget Delaney on “The Guardian”


f1 Gustave Doré, Illustration from Gargantua and Pantagruel

f2 Daily commuter. Photograph found somewhere on the web


Digitally native, entrepreneurial and well-travelled, millennials are not afraid

to relocate halfway across the world for the right opportunities and experiences

and thanks to the relative ease of travelling overseas they have more options in

where they live. They have grown up in the world of the gig economy and see the

flexibility as a key to career progression. Global assignments give them new skills

and experiences and they see enormous value in the frequent business travels,

international commuting, and extended business trips.

Millennials are not only comfortable with technology, but they expect to use it as a

key part of the relocation. This is a benefit to global mobility because it increases

the fluency of communication and makes it easier to maintain contact overseas, it

decreases the sense of disconnection of an expat and helps to adapt quicker to the

new location.

Taking on an international assignment is often tempting, good for the career and

intrinsically interesting for the opportunity to spend time in a different culture,

yet for those who have a family it provokes many troubles. They need to consider

the impact on taking their children out of school, how their spouse’s career will

be affected and what will happen to their house and so on. The young adults, in

general, have fewer anchors. They usually don’t have children, many are single,

most don’t have a mortgage because they can’t afford to buy a house. The lack

of anchoring factors means that they are much more likely to take off for an

international assignment and the process of moving is much cheaper and easier

for them.

The lack of family ties is, of course, a great advantage to global mobility and

obviously young people statistically are more likely to be unmarried and childless.

But besides this, there are also other social factors that affect millennials as a

generation (and not an age group), such as seeing the travel as a part of their

identity, the confidence of staying connected with people due to the social media

even on distance, the decreased likelihood of owning a home and the fleeting

nature of modern commodities. In many countries, home ownership is financially

beyond many millennials and renters are easier to relocate than homeowners.

Millennials are more flexible. People from the millennial generation are not only

flexible in their lifestyles – they are flexible in mindset too. Millennials are up

to date with the latest remote working practices. While older generations can be

baffled by the sophistication of handling it millennials feel absolutely confident

about cloud technologies and contemporary remote working practices.




9 of 100

of young adults

aged 18-34 in Italy (EU) live with their parents

(2016 data)

Italians under 35 own the house they live in

(2017 data)


of the US adults from 25-35 y/o

live in a rental property

(2016 data)

1/3 of the US young adults lives with roommates

(2014 data)


of the global workforce

expected to be mobile by 2020


of the employees do most of their work

somewhere other than employer’s location


of millennials say flexible work hours would

make them more productive


of millennials regularly check their working

email after work hours


#work #alwaysconnected

Millennials are more highly educated when ranked with other generations at

comparable ages. By 2020 they are forecast to make up 35 per cent of the global

workforce. Millennials are significantly less likely to be working full time (41%)

than Gen Xers (65%) or Boomers (54%), reflecting in part the very different life

circumstances of the contemporary youth. They are more likely to have a part time

or freelance job and to be in a constant search for new career opportunities.

Millennials prefer work-life integration instead of work-life balance. This infers

that family and personal pursuits would not be sacrificed for the sake of career

growth. As a highly social generation, millennials have a deep sense of community

and an always-connected lifestyle that has resulted in their work-life integration

preference. They tend to measure productivity by work completed, not by time

spent on a task - especially not time spent in the office. Millennials simply don’t

feel they need to be in the office, or at their desk, to get a job done - especially since

the evolution of technology has made portability very possible.

And these beliefs have begun to create a paradigm shift in the design and

implementation of the modern workplace and contributed to the global mobility.

Companies feel these changes and tend to move away from traditional longterm

engagements to shorter projects and distance work assignments. Flexible

accommodation and care are steadily evolving along with this trend.

#travel #alwaysconnected

Another extremely aspect of millennial life is travelling. For them it is not just

a way to get from one location to anothere, travelling is a part of their identity.

They travel more both leisure and business compared to generation X and baby

boomers and are more likely than any other generation to take vacations for

travelling, but the the traditional weeklong, plannedout-to-the-very-last-detail

trip in the summer months or at the major holidays is no longer the top vacation

for millennial travelers. They are opting for weekend trips and any other short

travel occurrences, since they are simply easier for the lifestyle of today’s working

millennial who faces excessive pressure in the workplace as a result of the modern

employee mindset shift from work/life balance to work/life integration. In fact,

weekend trips make up almost half of all millennial vacations.

In USA, for example, 56 percent of adults receive paid vacation days, but 41

percent of those respondents leave days on the table. The unfortunate reality is that

millennials often struggle with taking extended time away from the office. Many

of them tend to believe that no one else at the company can do their work while

they are away, or they want to show complete dedication to their job, don’t want

to be seen as replaceable or feel guilty for using time off. As a result, millennials

go for the philosophy of “planned spontaneity”, balancing the workplace routine

expectations and using any travel opportunities whenever they arise.

Millennials place a higher value on experiences than products. They are not

interested in packaged trips that were common to the older generations’ vacations.

When planning their trips millennials are largely motivated by the desire for

acquiring immersive adventures, local insights and memories worth sharing with

their networks.

Millennials have grown up with internet and smartphones in their pockets. For

them, digital connectivity is almost as vital as any other basic human need, such

as food or shelter. Travel-hacking millennials are making use of travel apps and

online travel agents more than any other generation and largely favor the sharing

economy over traditional hotels and transportation, suggesting that they value

the authentic lodging experience over a manufactured tourist experience and

prefer to spend their budget on things more meaningful than taxis and hotels.

That is why one of the strongest reasons of their wide use of Airbnb platform,

besides of course it’s being affordable, is the desire for connection to the local

“community”. Millennials often want see and experience more of the area where

they live in, seeing the locals in their daily routines, local shops, transportation

etc.) Most of millennials say they’re getting more social while traveling—much of

this taking place online or through mobile.

The global mobility has increased the importance of cultural and linguistic

collaboration and consideration. The need to modernise attitudes with regard to

religious, gender, lifestyle and racial equality is growing.

16 * Alamo Family Vacation Survey 2016


URBAN DOMESTICITY feeling home anywhere 18

The way millennials live the cities differs from the past behaviors: they are extremely

mobile, and so is their work. The constant Internet connectivity and the ability to

multi-task are critical for Millennials, especially when commuting. Millennials are

used to anytime, anywhere content access, and they appreciate the opportunity

to keep working instead of waiting around while traveling. Many of Millennials

instead of driving a car are happy with biking or walking, and see public transit as

a way to meet people, connect, and have extra time to do work while commuting.

The tendency to be always connected, to be in constant move and hurry, fed with

the technology, has changed a lot the use of the spaces in the cities and also in

people’s houses.

Many domestic and other functions, that previously had spaces specifically

designed for them migrated in the urban realm. The boundary between on-stage

and backstage life got in a way blurred. Thus if previously working was done in

the workplace, now a lot of work can be done remotely from anywhere: public

gardens, transportation vehicles, waiting areas in airports and stations, not to

talk about the cafes and coffee shops which became some kind of social hubs for

the young: places to go for a business lunch, teamwork meeting, studying, for a

thematic meetup or just not to have to stay alone at home while working - being

used to the social networks and being somehow constantly on-stage online, the

youngs feel comfortable being constantly on-stage in public, they feel, in general,

quite comfortable in the cities among others, and are known to need society

around them, to see and to be seen not necessarily entering in direct contact with

the others.

From the other side, the domestic spaces are experiencing some change. One’s own

house, that before was considered a no place for strangers now can be listed on

Airbnb and rented out to a complete stranger. The kitchen may lose its importance

for many millennials, since they don’t have time to cook at home, or simply prefer

dining out and getting food delivered. The rooms that before were used for sleeping

or for socializing may become also one’s workstations, and so on...

According to surveys, 63% of global millennials tell they feel free most at home

not in their current private residency. Instead they mostly mention some other,

public spaces in the cities they live in.

* Survey by New York based design duo Anton&Irene in collaboration with Space 10


by 2030

The the world’s population is predicted to increase to 8.5 billion by 2030. It’s

1.2 billion more people on the planet just in 12 years from today. This growth is

unbalanced and happens mostly in the countries with emerging economy. In the

countries with advanced economies both the birth and death rates are low, which

results in aging of the population. This dynamics are already visible today:

9/10 millennials live in emerging economies.

Number of millennials

in the country*

> 25 mln

10-24 mln

5-9 mln

1-4 mln <

1 mln

58% of millennials lives in Asia

Iran has the highest proportion of

millennials: 1/3 of its population

385 mln millennials in India

Chinese millennials outnumber

the whole USA populaton

Italy has the smallest share of

millennials of any major economy:


Almost 60% are concentrated in Asia. The

Chinese millennials alone outnumber the

entire population of the US. The highest

proportion of millennials has Iran: more

than 1/3 of the population; in China, it’s 1/4.

While millennials outnumber both Boomers

and Gen Xers in the US, this is not the

case in many other advanced economies: in

Japan they comprise 17.2% of the population,

17.8 % in Spain. Italy, ith just 16.9%,

has the smallest share of millennials of any

major economy.


* UN World Population Prospects 2015

This uneven distribution of the young people in their best working age, multiplied

with the new possibilities to move and to seek for better opportunities elsewhere

has already provoked a big international migrational wave and, considering the

millennial way of live and set of priorities, it will continue to grow incrementally.

It is interesting to reflect on the current world population data by regions. Europe

and Northern America have the lowest fertility rates as well as the highest median

age of the population (In Northern America it is 38 years, in Europe it’s even more

dramatic: 42). The gap between the rest of the world is quite impressive. As regards

international migrants, Europe and Northern America are experiencing migrant

net in-flow, while from the rest of the regions people rather flow out.

And when millennials move, they move to cities. They prefer active, vibrant cities

full of life, energy and opportunities where they can live, work and play all in

one space. It is predicted, that 70% of the world’s population will be living in

cities by 2030. This mass migration to the cities brings a twofold problem. On

the backstage of it, the rural regions lose their population and get obsolete, and

of course, the more it continues, the less attractive they become for the young. For

example, in China from 1990 to 2010, more than 250mln people moved from the

countryside to the cities: by their early 20s Chinese millennials are now nearly

three times more likely to live in cities than their counterparts from 30 years ago.

On the other side this leads to densification and growth of the existing cities. In

the countries with emerging economies it gives ground for construction of new

cities from scratch. It is forecasted, that the 40% of the areas that will be urban

in 2030 are cities that haven’t even been built yet. 95% of that growth will be in

emerging economies like India and China so that means cities the size of New

York have to be built every six months for the next 13 years to house the increasing

population (In fact, China has already started the construction of Xiong’an - a

city three times bigger than NY). This solution doesn’t always work well (actually,

it almost never works) - instead of dwelling in the new ghost cities, people still

prefer to dwell in already densely inhabited cities, even by the cost of unaffordable

housing, high competition, long commuting hours and limited spaces available.

The space and the resources in our cities and our planet are limited, and in order

to house 1.2 billion more people everyone will have to share more things than

ever before. The new and the old residents of the cties will have to deal with the

rapid changes in their cities, develop new behavior patterns and social rules and

to adapt to the new proxomities.



International Migrants


95% of urban growth




by 2030

70 %


of people

cities the size of New York have to be built

will live

every six months for the next 13 years to house

in cities

the increasing population

World Population


by region (2018)* Region


1. Asia


2. Africa


3. Europe


4. Latin America and the Carribbean 652.012.001

5. Northern America


6. Oceania


Urban Population



258 mln




In the last 2 decades the number of international

migrants grew by 85mln

78mln 80mln

Asia and Europe have the largest

immigrant population


10 %

(25.9 mln)




median age:


*gets younger

with every


In Europe, instead of

growing by 2%, the

population would

have fallen by 1% in

the absence of a net

inflow of migrants.

106mln of total

258mln int.migrants

were born in Asia.

61mln of total int.

migrants were born in


Land Area











Pop. (%)







































How Millennials grew up with Technology

* and where it leads them

“We don’t notice things change. We know that things change, we’ve been told since childhood that things change,

we’ve witnessed things change ourselves many a time, and yet we’re still utterly incapable of noticing the moment

that change comes--or we search for change in all the wrong places.”

Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

additive manufacturing

advances in 3D printing and other enabling

technologies mean that product components can

be made lighter and for less cost.


a global community of hosts and travelers.

Founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia

and Nathan Blecharczyk and headquartered in

San Francisco it operates an online hospitality

service offering a variety of short-term lodging

rentals and hosted music and tourism events

(experiences). The pioneer of the sharing

economy as we know it today

augmented reality

virtually augmenting what we can see with our

own eyes with data and hidden systems can be

immensely powerful when it comes to process

and product improvement.

autonomous systems

robotics and artificial intelligence have evolved

to a point where systems can operate to high

standards on various tasks without constant

human intervention.

big data

businesses can create huge volumes of data

without realising it and this data can be a source

of untapped value for business improvement and



an online marketplace for carpooling, which

connects drivers with empty seats and people

travelling the same way. Founded in 2006



cloud computing

IT services are increasingly being provided by the

‘cloud’ to generate cost and space savings as well

as to offer innovative use models.

collaborative consumption

an economic model based on sharing, swapping,

trading, or renting products and services,

enabling access over ownership. It is reinventing

not just what we consume but how we consume.

*see also “sharing economy”

*read R.Botsman&R.Rogers “All What’s

Mine is Yours”


a hospitality and social networking service

launched in 2004, accessible via a website

and mobile app. Members can use the

service to arrange homestays, offer lodging

and hospitality, and join events. A part of

gift economy

crowd-based capitalism

a new model of capitalism, where large,

disconnected groups of people pool their

assets, capital or labor on a shared platform,

for the consumers to find and utilize these

resources, thus bypassing the traditional

company-consumer interraction

*read A. Sundarrarjan “Crowd-Based Capitalism,

Digital Automation, and the Future

of Work”


the practice of funding a project or venture

by raising small amounts of money

from a large number of people, typically

online. A form of crowdsourcing


a sourcing model in which individuals or

organizations obtain goods and services

such as ideas and finances, from a large,

relatively open and often rapidly-evolving

group of internet users; it divides work

between participants to achieve a cumulative


cyber security

connected systems require optimised and

current security so that your assets and

information are safe from intrusion


online marketplace for buyers and sellers,

one of the pioneers of p2p ecomomy

launched in 2005. It’s trust based reputation

system gave an important input into

the development of the sharing economy

platforms as Airbnb and others.

generation rent

a name to call millennials due

to their preference

to access goods instead of

owning them

gift economy

a mode of exchange where

valuables are not traded or

sold, but rather given without

an explicit agreement for immediate

or future rewards.


*see “on-demand economy”

idle capacity

goods that by nature provide

owners with excess capacity,

providing the consumer with

an opportunity to lend out or

rent out their goods to other


industry 4.0

the increasing convergence of

digital, physical and biological


internet of things

IoT is the ever-growing

infrastructure of internetconnected

devices which can

transfer data and commands

between points Kickstarter

an American public-benefit

corporation based in Brooklyn,

New York, that maintains a

global crowdfunding platform

focused on creativity and

merchandising. The company’s

stated mission is to “help bring

creative projects to life”

on-demand economy

*not to confuse with sharing


is about p2p service delivery

instead of p2p good sharing

p2p, peer-to-peer economy

*see “sharing economy”

product-service economy

*not to confuse with sh.ec.

renting goods from a company

rather than from another consumer.

The service provided by

the company consists of giving

the consumer access to a product

while the company retains

ownership of it

second hand economy

*not to confuse with sh.ec.

consumers selling goods to

each other (granting to others

permanent access, rather than

temporary access to their


sharable goods

goods that by nature provide

owners with excess capacity,

providing the consumer with

an opportunity to lend out or

rent out their goods to other


sharing economy

(crowd-based economy,

p2p economy, collaborative


consumers granting each other

temporary access to underutilized

physical and human

assets (“idle capacity”) for

money, using web platforms as

a means of matching the sides

interpretation by EU Parliament:

“the use of digital platforms

or portals to reduce the

scale for viable hiring transactions

or viable participation in

consumer hiring markets (i.e.

‘sharing’ in the sense of hiring

an asset) and thereby reduce

the extent to which assets are



it can often be more cost-

effective to trial something in

the virtual world than to make

a physical prototype for each

variable being tested

systems intergation

a business can have many

different pieces of hardware

of software which need to

be utilised in unison so that

maximum value can be derived


an online and mobile marketplace

that matches freelance

labor with local demand,

allowing consumers to find

immediate help with everyday

tasks, including cleaning,

moving, delivery and handyman


trust based system

a system of two-sided feedback

and rating between the user

and provider. Main making the

interraction between strangers

possible and transparent


a technology platform that

uses a smartphone application

to connect riders with

drivers, founded in 2009 and

now operating in more than

300 cities


After the WWII and also ironically thanks to it, the humanity did an

incredible jump in science and technologies in every field. In the

relatively peaceful period after the war those inventions continued

to be developed for peaceful goals. The end of the 20th century

and the beginnng of the 21st were significant for the passage from

analogue to digital technologies. That period is concidered as the

third industrial revolution. And it coincides with the birth of the

first millennials.

Maybe that is the reason most millennials mention the technology use

as something that constitutes the unique and distinctive identity

of their generation.

One of the technology features that today is integrated to almost

all of our digital gadgets and apps: the GPS system was introduced

already in 1983. Internet became available to wide public in 1989-

90. Today the world without it is no more thinkable: everything

we know and are used to works with it. From that time period on

the digital literacy across the globe rapidly rises and all of

the technology tends to become more and more weightless. Post

correspondence and fax get largely replaced by emails (email goes

viral on 1993), music, films, books - everything goes digital. Our

assets are getting less and less physical.

Browser is introduced on 1992 and already two years later the one

of today’s technology giants is born: the Amazon. Commerce goes

online. 1995, Ebay and Craigslist follow Amazon. This is the first

wave of digital platforms: the ultimate goal is to bring everything


The most important feature that gets introduced at this period is

the trust based system of reviews. It will later be one of the

mechanisms adopted by the third wave of internet platforms together

with the online payments systems (those will be introduced in 2002

starting with Paypal).

Year 1999. Google was introduced a year ago from it. The new

breakthrough is the wireless internet. Together with the services

offered by Google, Wifi lets us become untethered, work remotely

and be always connected. From this moment on the change in the

social behavior patterns and in the cityscape becomes evident.

The term digital nomad, first introduced in 1997 in a book* by

Tsugio Makimoto and David Manners becomes even more relevant. Many

millennials become some sort of contemporary nomads who use the

technology to earn a living and live in a location-independent

way. Wifi empowers us to work remotely from foreign countries,

29 * Makimoto, Tsugio, and David Manners. Digital nomad. Wiley, 1997.

coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces, even vehicles

and basically from everywhere.

Next year Wikipedia is founded. This is the start of the second

wave of internet platforms: crowdsourcing and social network websites

are launched one after the other: LinkedIn and Skype in 2003,

Facebook and Youtube in the next two years. The goal of this wave

of platforms is to connect everything.

The first iphone is presented in 2007 and gives birth to the whole

smartphone era. Now everything one may need is contained in a

device that fits into a pocket. We get even more connected and

location-independent. The old technology of GPS gets revamped into

Google Maps and integrated in smartphone apps and all of the existing

internet platforms. Navigating, travelling, matching users

based on their location becomes even more easy.

And then...

f3 Lehman Brothers -investment bank in the US, the bancrupcy of which sent the whole market in crisis. On the photo:

Lehman Brothers Auction at Christies, London, August 2010 (photograph by Linda Nylind/Guardian Newspapers)




”The power of capitalist realism derives in part from the way that capitalism

subsumes and consumes all of previous history: one effect of its ‘system of

equivalence’ which can assign all cultural objects, whether they are religious

iconography, pornography, or Das Kapital, a monetary value...In the conversion

of practices and rituals into merely aesthetic objects, the beliefs of previous

cultures are objectively ironized, transformed into artifacts”


Mark Fischer “Capitalism Realism”

A lot of contemporary social behavior patterns that millennials inherited like

“flexibility”, “nomadism” and “spontaneity” are exactly the results of the capitalist

system. Capitalism has also resulted that work and life became inseparable and in

order to succeed one has to develop a capacity to respond to unforeseen events, and

to live in conditions of total instability, always to move on instead of settling down,

where nothing is long-term and short periods of work are followed by periods of

unemployment. Where formerly one could have a single set of skills and expect

to progress upwards through a rigid organizational hierarchy, now one is required

to periodically re-skill, as the organization of work is getting decentralized and

lateral networks with focus on flexibility are replacing pyramidal hierarchies*.

With all the advancements and opportunities, that it brought, capitalism has also

resulted in huge competitiveness and unequality.

People who do remote work and have little real life contacts with their employees

and colleagues tend to be marginalized and to miss out on the informal contacts.

Besides, in capitalist system everything in society is seen as a business and the

“transactions” are replacing many of basic “relationships” in people’s dealings with

one another**.

Up untill September 2008 that was the state of capitalism and for most people in

Europe and North America, capitalist system had no alternative and seamlessly

occupied the horizons of the thinkable**.

But together with crisis something cracked in the capitalist system. The new

mood among the progressive youth is the anti-consumerism and environmental

consciousness. The economic conditions of the youth got worse, the environmental

situations gets notably worse. And so the millennial generation lost the trust in the

capitalist system with all of its vertically organized institutions, organizations and

also governments. A new economical model was born out of capitalism’s internal

contradictions: the sharing economy - or collaborative, peer to peer economy.

In sharing economy markets rather than getting something from an institution,

from a government or from a traditional company, a lot of economic activity is

shifting to getting the same goods and services from other individuals mediated

by some kind of peer-to-peer community platform. It is not a coincidence those

platforms started to boom in 2012 after the wave of the Occupy Movement. The

global society led by millennials lost the trust in vertically governed institutions

and started to move towards collaboration, networking and lateral systems.

* Sennett, Richard. The culture of the new capitalism. Yale University Press, 2007

** Fisher, Mark. Capitalist realism: Is there no alternative?. John Hunt Publishing, 2009

f4 photograph by the author, Milano, via S.Dionigi



access over ownership

The new economic realities together with the technological advancement brought

an important shift in the society: millennials came to understanding that

accummulating assets, possessing many things is no more an indicator of wealth

or status. Millennials no longer value milestones like owning a house, a vehicle

or other hard assets, opting instead for new types of services that provide access

(short-leases, rentals, memberships) to products and experiences without the

burden of outright ownership. Also the businesses already took the way toward

the transition from ownership to access. They are selling off their real estate,

shrinking their inventories, leasing their equipment, and outsourcing their

activities: almost everything needed to run the physical business itself is borrowed.

The most valuable things to possess are no more tangible.

Owning things, lots of things, is considered outdated, it is an obstacle to flexibility

and mobility, moreover it implies maintenance costs and other disadvantages. Now

that we can have music, films, storage stored on the servers, we don’t need physical

assets to get the experiences we want. As our possessions “dematerialize” into the

intangible, our preconceptions of ownership are changing. Another reason for

this shift of course the speed of technological innovation and upgrades, and ever

narrowing product life cycles, everything becomes almost immediately outdated,

so own things nowadays makes less and less sense.

Vehicle ownership rates, for example, are declining rapidly. Those of the millenials

who do own cars put a premium on being green, in line with their passion for

environmental causes. The ones who don’t own a car, consider the cost, reliability,

convenience, and health/exercise benefits of the transportation option, but eco

impact is also taken into account. Thus many of them are opting for walking,

biking or public transit. From environmental considerations millennials are

also becoming increasingly aware of and interested in the idea of share-based

transportation services (bike sharing, car sharing).

Those living in a “hot spot’ neighborhood are distinguished from those who do

not in some of the following ways: They are less likely to personally own a car and

drive one regularly, they frequently use car-sharing services, are more likely to

use a bus and subway a few times a week. As reason for not owning a car they are

likely to mention the need to save money, avoid traffic, not wanting the burden of a

car, and caring about the environment as motivations behind their transportation




This trend has enormous implications for the society. For the whole of Modern

Age, property and markets have been synonymous. Indeed, the capitalist

economy is founded on the very idea of exchanging property in markets. Now

the foundation of modern life is beginning to disintegrate, the markets make

way for networks and the exchange of property between sellers and buyers - the

most important feature of the modern market system - gives way to short-term

access between providers and users operating in a network relationship.

As an outcome of the financial crisis, and as the ownership

loses its value, a new economy model: market economy system

is actually giving birth now to a new economic system: the

sharing economy and the collaborative commons.

And this is the first new economic system to emerge after capitalism and

socialism* in early 19th century, so it’s a quite remarkable moment in history.

Sharing economy is a natural fruit of capitalism, which has successfully

installed a ‘business ontology’ in which it is simply obvious that everything in

society should be run as a business and the “transactions” have replaced many

of basic “relationships” in people’s dealings with one another. Sharing economy

took this idea. Now acts like hosting someone in your own house, giving someone

a passage, sharing a meal with someone or showing someone around in the city

and many other things became actions that can be monetized. But the tricky part

here is that in this process the third party role which was the company providing

assets or services, now is made to a minimum. The sharing economy platforms

help to match users and due to their integrated trust based systems allow them

to interract with each other directly with almost zero marginal cost. And the

interaction happens in the non-virtual world.

This is the big difference of the third wave of digital platforms:

the ultimate goal is going back to the real life.

*Rifkin J. The zero marginal cost society: The internet of things, the collaborative commons,

and the eclipse of capitalism. – St. Martin’s Press, 2014.


“The world’s largest hospitality brand owns

not a single room or hotel. The world’s largest

car service owns not a single vehicle”.


US Companies Crowd Report 2016


Of the manner the things are shared,

swapped, traded and rented

in the Sharing Economy




As a phenomenon the sharing economy started after the Financial Crisis. The

collapse of 2008 did not only bring a need for new career paths and perspectives,

but a new need for opportunities where supply and demand could be matched

thus the individuals could exploit better the potential capacity of the assets.

Coincidence or not, the main player of the sector, Airbnb has been on the market

since 2008, at that time as a San Francisco based startup that matched people in

need for affroable accommodation and people having vacant space in their homes.

The next few years saw the establishment of such important companies nowadays

as Uber, Spotify, Kickstarter and WeWork. Since 2012 the sharing economy

platforms started to boom with millions of revenue all over the globe.

The base of the sharing economy platforms is the trust based reputation system.

It’s roots go back to the first e-commerce models of 1990s. The pioneer company

with the first platform of consumer-to-consumer interaction was eBay (already

in 1995). The firm was in a leading position within the scope of p2p e-commerce

activities from the beginning and currently still holds a top position. They have

provided a standard to follow for platforms like Airbnb and Uber. The mechanism

of eBay is simple: the platform provides intermediary matching between demand

and supply actors, who in their turn have to provide feedback regarding their

purchases. The feedback allows the later customers with their choice and endures

the trust. This mechanism was transferred to the sharing economy platforms and

developed as trust based reputation system.

There are many factors that contributed to the success of the sharing economy.

The main four drivers* are the technological innovation, which brougt the

transactions to minimal marginal costs, the value shift from ownership to

access, economic realities such as the big financial crisis and its consequences:

the economical uncertainty, high unemployment rates, etc.; and last but not least

the growing environmental pressure which brought a lot of critisism towards the

consumerism and unefficient use of goods.

Future prospects suggest that impact of sharing will change the economic landscape

at its core, the way we live, work and play in the cities also will differ from what we

were used to, and the process already started. The sharing economy is

disrupting the traditional industries and giving rise to

the crowd-based capitalism.


* Botsman, Rachel, and Rogers, Roo.

“What’s mine is yours: how collaborative consumption is changing the way we live.”


technological innovation

peer to peer social networking

innovative mobile technologies

peer to peer payment systems

reduced transaction costs

3 economic realities


monetize excess of idling capacity

increase financial flexibility

financial uncertainty

influx of VC funding


values shift

desire for community

access over ownership

untethered way of living

blurred live-work boundaries

environmental pressures

increasing population density

need for more resources

dissatisfaction with consumerism

efficient use of assets

As millennials—the generation most comfortable with sharing as a means to save

money—grow older, the collaborative economy is bound to grow bigger. The main

categories for sharing are the travel, car service, finance, staffing, and music and

video streaming. These industries currently account for $15 billion annual revenue

but that number is predicted to grow to $335 billion by 2025*.


sharing economy sector

15 bln

335 bln

traditional rental sector

240 bln

335 bln 2025

peer to peer lending

and crowdfunding

online staffing

equipment rental

B&B and hostels

peer to peer


car sharing

music and

video streaming

book rental

car rental

DVD rental

* Pew Research Center

f5 anti-consumerism graffiti, photograph found somewhere on the web



. providers of services, space or resources

. consumers of these services

. traditional service providers

. nonprofits, NGO-s focusing on sustainability

. the startups

. the investors

. sharing advocates and lobbysts

. incumbent corporations

. respective lobbyists

. governments, supporting innovation (as

well as protecting their vested interests)

. press and media

. thought leaders





the people

the technologists

the established

the influencers

the new

occasional roles

of the consumer


The principle of sharing economy is simple: consumers grant each other

temporary access to under-utilized physical assets, possibly for money, using

digital platforms find each other*. Thus the consumer gets better prices, flexible

selections, access to big choice of options, while also adressing some crucial

social and environmental aspects (like reutilization and redistribution of goods,

efficient use of assets, instead of the hyperconsumption, which characterised

all the last century).

Typical goods that are currently being shared are cars and homes. These are

“shareable goods” - goods that by nature provide owners with excess capacity,

providing the consumer with an opportunity to rent out their goods to other

consumers. Excess capacity is present when the owner does not consume the

product all the time. A majority of consumer goods have an excess capacity,

including houses, cars, boats, houses, clothing, books, toys, appliances, tools,

furniture, computers, etc.

In this process the digital platforms enable a more precise, realtime measurement

of excess capacity and dynamically connect that capacity with those who need it.

Thus Airbnb matches spare rooms and apartments with travelers in need of lodging,

Zipcar matches spare cars with local demand and so on.

In the last decade the technology-based sharing platforms emerged into a wide

range of service industries: not only accommodation (Airbnb, SwapYourHome),

transportation (Uber, Lyft, Blablacar, RelayRides, Getaround), but also labor, human

capital and intellectual property (Taskrabbit, Upwork, Freelancer). Further

things to share are tools, toys, clothes (Girlmeetsdress, Fashionhire), meals (Grubclub,

Mealsharing, Tablecrowd and Vizeats), even wi-fi (Fon), pretty much anything.

Of course, sharing/renting out goods is nothing new, it existed long before the

Internet. But if before people shared with their families, friends and the known

trusted social contacts, now users interract with strangers, because the

Internet has enormously decreased transaction costs between unknown others.

Transaction costs are all the costs and trouble that occur in an economic transaction

(especially the costs related to search). The Internet platforms have brought the

transaction costs to minimum. Now it is much easier to locate goods and services,

and transactions are regularized via standard contracts and online payment

systems. In addition, most sharing-economy platforms provide information on

the past behaviour and therefore trustworthiness of users is “predictable” This

further lowers transaction costs and lowers risk.

* Sundararajan A. The sharing economy: The end of employment and the rise of crowd-based capitalism.




pretty much anything


The most prominent sharing category is the apartment/house sharing, since the

space is a valuable asset and is very much likely to periodically stay unused. Platforms

as Airbnb, VRBO, LoveHomeSwap and Couchsurfing connect homeowners with

people who need a place to stay when they’re travelling. Hosts set the nightly price

and specify available dates, typically when they’re not using the property, and

visitors can find accommodations in their destination and choose a place that fits

their desired neighborhood, amenity needs, and budget. The most popular is the

Airbnb, VRBO works on same principles. LoveHomeSwap is different, since it

offers property exchange for holidays and Couchsurfing connects travelers with a

global network of people willing to share life in profound and meaningful ways,

making travel a truly social experience. Hosts open their homes to travelers for no

charge, promoting cultural exchange and mutual respect.


Coworking is another industry born from the sharing concept. It lets to share

the cost of office rent, utilities, storage, mail, and office supplies with other

professionals. It’s particularly useful for freelancers, sole proprietors, and very

small businesses that don’t have huge inventories requiring lots of storage space.

These facilities, stocked with coffee and connected to the outside world with

phone lines and WiFi connections, typically feature large space with office suites,

conference rooms, and common areas. The users pay a weekly or monthly fee

based on their space requirements and the amount of time they spend at the

office. Depending on the coworking hub’s policies, one may also need to pay to for

conference room time, storage lockers, P.O. boxes, and other perks. But these costs

are likely to be significantly lower than what one has to pay for even a small office

space, especially in the bustling districts where coworking hubs are usually found.

parking lots

JustPark is a technology platform that matches drivers with available parking

spaces through its website and mobile app. By providing access to 200,000

underused spaces, JustPark provides cheaper, more convenient parking to more

than 1 million drivers, for now only across the United Kingdom. Drivers can find,

reserve and pay for parking wherever and whenever they need it.



There are also several platforms to monetize the unused land. Hipcamp and

Landshare are online travel services designed to connect land-owners with vacant

space with people who want a place for their tiny homes on wheels, for camping,

or for people passionate about gardening and farming.


Boatsetter is a boat rental community which allows the owners of boats to list

their assets and travellers who to rent a boat (also a boat with captain), for short or

longer periods. There are currently 4,000 boats listed on the platform in over 2,500

locations in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.


carsharing & ridesharing

Ridesharing and carsharing offer some of the benefits of car ownership, such

as easy access to a city without having to rely on public transit, with few of the

drawbacks, such as paying for gas, insurance, and maintenance. The sharing

economy dramatically undercuts the taxi and car rental business mode and has

forced taxi and rental to adopt technological solutions, such as smartphone apps,

and may result in lower prices over time.

With apps like Uber, Didi (in Asia), one can hail a ride from drivers in their personal

vehicles. Lyft is a ridesharing network that matches drivers with passengers who

request rides through Lyft’s smartphone app. Passengers pay automatically through

the app. Bla bla car works on the same principle, but on the intercity level. Today

in Europe this app has resulted to an infrastructure parallel to the train and bus

system. With services like Car2Go and Zipcar it is possible commandeer a shared

vehicle, owned by a for-profit or nonprofit organization, and pay for the time

driving it. Same with Turo and Getaround: one can rent privately owned cars by

the hour or day when their owners don’t need them. Depending on the location,

rides with Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing companies can cost half the amount of

an identical taxi trip. Since carsharing companies like Car2Go and Zipcar mostly

charge for the time (minutes or hours) and distance one drives, they’re much

cheaper than rental car companies, which typically charge by the day.



peer-to-peer lending

Peer-to-peer lending platforms allow individuals to lend and borrow money

without going through a traditional bank. Based on the borrower’s credit history,

the interest rate is typically set by the platform, which acts as the intermediary

between the two parties. Basically, technology makes it easier and safer for

individuals who have money to find people who need money. Since the platforms

themselves don’t have to worry about absorbing losses from failed loans (the

individual who lends the money bears the risk), they can be much leaner than

traditional banks. Over time, this could compel banks to be more accommodating.


Crowdfunding platforms as Kickstarter and Indiegogo connect people who need

money with those willing to provide it. Entrepreneurs, artists, and others present

startup or project ideas to a community of potential funders, and then set a target

fundraising amount and date. Unlimited number of individuals can contribute

to a single campaign and the recipients aren’t always expected to repay the funds.

Some crowdfunding campaigns function like grants, in other case the recipients

offer rewards, such as merchandise; others are more like capital raising rounds,

where startups or small businesses solicit investments in exchange for equity

in the company. For creative types, using a crowdfunding platform is less timeconsuming

and easier than through government or nonprofit arts organizations.

And for those who contribute funds, the rewards can range from the emotional

satisfaction of supporting something they care about, to an equity stake in a

potentially successful venture.




Many sharing economy platforms such as Taskrabbit, Zaarly, Skillshare are allowing

people who don’t have time or necessary skill to find ones who have both. Thus one

can find someone to asseble his furniture, hang pictures, do some other household

work or even just wait in line for him. By creating more liquid marketplaces for

knowledge and and talent, this facet of the sharing economy enables busy people

to delegate work on demand – and creates economic opportunities for those

willing to do it.



Reselling and trading platforms let one buy, sell and swap new and used goods

without face-to-face interaction. Other sharing economy platforms focus on

specific niches. For instance, Kidizen is an online marketplace for used childrens’

toys and clothing. As popular marketplaces for used goods, eBay, Craigslist, and

Kidizen let sellers extract value from things that might otherwise collect dust

and buyers obtain needed items at a lower cost. As lower-cost, human-scale

alternatives to traditional retail and rental networks, these options turn normally

impersonal, potentially expensive transactions into rewarding experiences one

can feel good about. And the arrangement is more sustainable than buying a new

item and throwing it away when you no longer have use for it. Many platforms

work with niche sectors, for instace Cohealo helps health systems share medical

equipment across facilities so they can optimize spend, accelerate cash flow, and

improve access to care.


pre-owned goods

loaner products

custom products

professional services

personal services


loaner vehicles

office space

place to stay

money lending




From the user’s point of view the participation in the sharing economy makes

sense because of the flexibility, convenience, low barriers to entry and minimal

regulations. Being accustomed to the constant Being in the virtual reality, people

place crucial trust in the platforms that hold on to their personal information and

supply the information flow of other users for fair decision making. Within the

same umbrella are the YouTube and Facebook. These platforms helped to create

the social norms for our society to be ready to trust the online information services

to an extent to connect virtual reality with the real life, which is claimed by all the

sharing economy platforms as a social benefit and a “common good”, because it

allows meeting other people, making friends and getting to know others.

Without exception, technology was one of the main tools in the transformation of

sharing economy. However without the enthusiastically participating consumers

the platforms would not function.

The advent of Internet platforms makes stranger sharing more secure, thereby

extending an existing practice to a larger social scale. On some platforms strangers

meet face-to-face after a matching process, and from such face-to-face meetings

new social ties are thought to emerge. Furthermore, sharing economy practices

do not necessarily lead to stratification, since owners may be expected to differ

in socio-demographic background from renters and borrowers. Possibly, with

more expensive goods like cars and houses, providers may be richer and older

than the renters on average, so one could hypothise that the sharing practices also

somehow increase the social mixing.

Probably, the site that has been most successful at creating new social ties is Airbnb.

Many Airbnb hosts tend to claim that the social interaction was central to their

motivation and practice on the site. There is a big quantity of hosts who socialize

with their guests, eat with them, take them out, and in some cases become friends

with them. There is also a small group of hosts who report that they would host

even if they had all the money they needed, and a few offer their homes on both

Airbnb and Couchsurfing, for which they receive no money.

The socially-oriented hosts are eager to interact with foreign guests who are

“comfortably exotic,” i.e., different enough to be interesting, but similar enough

to be comfortable.

As regards the motivation of people to participate in the sharing economy services,

it depends highly on the type of assets: when it goes about accommodations,

































Reasons to participate in different sectors of the sharing economy









the participation is usually motivated economically or socially. Environmental

motivations are important particularly for car and ride-sharing. For meal sharing,

which requires high personal interaction component, social motivations play a

large stimulating role.

Also participants of other sharing economy platforms, such as Taskrabbit, for

example, often say that platforms help them to build new social networks they can

rely on, and give the opportunity to meet people they would have never met. They

report satisfaction with the relations they developed with the people they do tasks

for. In the same manner, many Couchsurfing users tell that participation resulted

in new friendships.

Of course when the sharing sites will become a less novel and more normative

part of daily life the social ties may become weaker: was more people participate

in the platforms for economic reasons, social interaction will decline.The quality

of ratings may also contribute to the declining importance of social contacts on

sharing platforms. As participants acquire more ratings over time, trust is codified

and there is less need for face-to-face interaction. This trend is reinforced by

technological and business developments such as “smart locks” where the owner

provides digital access to the rentier by a temporary pin code and businesses that

provide additional supporting services including check-in and key handover.

It is also possible that sharing platforms may be harmful to social cohesion as

reflected in existing social ties. Platforms economize private things in the sense


that at any time these stand idle, an opportunity cost arises. While idle capacity

was generally available to family and friends for free in the past, some concerns

may arise about the viability of non-monetized sharing within networks as people

prefer earning money.

One important outcome of a society built on sharing goods and services is

the flexibility to make life and work arrangements faster, with less risk or

uncertainty, and often on one’s own terms. For example, if one arranges his work

from a coworking space, then he is free to leave the space at any moment without

breaking a lease or waiting untill the end of the contract. Home-sharing services

offer on-demand lodging, with many of the comforts of home, at a reasonable cost

at any moment when needed. Crowdfunding lets to raise money for a new idea

without jumping through a traditional lender’s hoops.

Likewise, as a ridesharing provider, peer-to-peer lender, Aribnb host or participant

in a task marketplace, one has the opportunity to set own work schedule or earn

passive income. That may be attractive compared to conventional employment


Another positive side of using sharing economy can be the freedom from burdens

of possession. Fewer valuable possessions – and fewer worries about them. For

instance, if one lives in a city and only needs to drive a few times per month, a

car may be unnecessary and not having to deal with car insurance, maintenance

issues, and potential thieves could be a big benefit. Likewise, if one rents or shares

expensive tools or equipment that are needed for special projects, one can be quiet

that his tool shed or garage won’t be an attractive target for thieves.

Collaborative consumption offers economic benefits for everyone involved. For a

user renting own car as a ridesharing vehicle, renting out the house when one is

not at home, one is getting additional value from an asset that he owns. On the

other side of these arrangements, the user may eliminate the cost of car ownership

and maintenance, reduce the travel expenses or secure valuable financial support

for a new business idea that may not have been fundable otherwise. Other sharing

functions, such as coworking spaces and task marketplaces, may be cheaper than

their traditional counterparts. In all cases, the sharing economy either saves money

or provides income for its participants.

The direct economic effects of the sharing economy are indisputably positive.

A transaction in the sharing economy is beneficial to both parties: thanks to the


minimal transaction costs, the provider’s income rises and the user is able to find

something affordable.

The full economic effects of the sharing economy are far more complex and yet

to be studied. For sure they have as positive as negative impact on other markets.

Some traditional industries may get disrupted, some others may on contrary get

some lateral positive effects. For example Airbnb is a partial substitute for the

cheaper segments of the hotel market. Same is valid for car rentals market, which

now faces increased competition due to the rise of p2p carsharing platforms.

There are also potentially effects on the supply and price of housing: the more

widespread becomes housing, the higher get the rents in that neighbourhoods.

Many of assets are taken away from traditional rental markets.

Second, there are externalities as third parties may experience losses as the two

parties transact. This is especially a problem with house sharing with neighbours

experiencing nuisance and feeling danger from strangers.

Though all of the effects are hard to consider, the peer-to-peer networks will

definitely reorder the modern society and economy in the coming years and the

more people participate in the sharing economy platforms, the stronger will be

network effect and thus the more notable will get its benefits.

Despite its increased prominence and continued growth, the sharing economy

won’t completely displace traditional economic networks anytime soon. It’s

more likely to force existing industries to become more like the collaborative

platforms that challenge them, with potential benefits for everyone involved.



Cheaper Goods and Services

Sharing certain goods, services, and skills on-demand is more efficient, while you

don’t have to deal with the costs of ownership and employment. If you only need

to use a bandsaw once a year, it’s much cheaper to pay $20 to rent one from a

neighbor or tool lending library than to shell out $1,000 or more for one of your

own. The same goes for an occasional service, such as an annual housecleaning or

a ride. In essence, the sharing economy cuts out the middle man, whether that’s a

traditional employer or the company you buy goods and services from.

Extra Income for Providers

On the other side of the transaction, an owner can unlock the potential value of an

item, such as a vehicle that would otherwise be sitting in the driveway or a talent

that wouldn’t be utilized in a day job, by sharing it when it’s not in use. Same way,

by renting idle goods, you can earn passive income.

New and Better Opportunities

The sharing economy offers access to things that might not be practical to own or

obtain. For instance, many people simply can’t afford a car or convince a traditional

bank to extend a personal loan. Peer networks make it possible to access such

things without asking participants to pay a lot or assume unacceptable amounts

of risk.

Stronger Communities

Many sharing economy platforms, such as ridesharing apps and Airbnb, have

built-in ratings and reviews that help keep providers and consumers honest. Coworking

and task marketplaces are built on the idea of interpersonal collaboration

and resource-sharing. And some platforms use their influence – and the shared

resources of their participants – to help those in need.

For instance, Airbnb has coordinated free accommodations for people affected by

natural disasters, and TaskRabbit has experimented with organizing volunteers

in crisis situations. These and other trust-building efforts help sharing economy

participants see one another as equals, building constructive relationships where

none existed previously.


PRO-s & CON-s OF S


Privacy/Safety Concerns

The sharing economy requires people on both sides of the transaction to forfeit

some privacy. For instance, when you rent out your house on Airbnb, you basically

invite strangers into your home. While you trust your renters to be respectful and

law-abiding, you can’t be 100% sure that they’ll follow through. The same issue

applies to ridesharing, selling or renting items in an online marketplace, and using

a task platform to source in-person labor, like housecleaning and home repair.

By contrast, the traditional services must be licensed and/or abide by consumerprotection

regulations that don’t necessarily apply to sharing economy

No or Few Guarantees

When you share your resources with others – whether by renting out a house, car,

or equipment, or participating in a talent marketplace – you also assume the risk

that you won’t get paid or that the items you share will be damaged. There is also

no guarantee of a steady income. Plus, renters in your home or riders in your car

could cause damage that you have to pay for – either above and beyond a security

deposit you require, or in the form of an insurance deductible.

Cooperation With Others

Though its community-building power can be a benefit, the sharing economy requires

close cooperation between people on each side of a transaction. This may

lead to tradeoffs that constrain your independence or self-reliance. For instance,

when you use a coworking space, you agree to share resources that, in a standalone

office suite, you’d have total control over. When you rent on a house or apartment

sharing platform, you occupy a space that contains someone else’s personal

property, and may be subject to a homeowners’ association’s rules (or neighbors’


Market Distortions

The sharing economy’s inherently disruptive effects sometimes feel downright

punitive. Among the most widely studied are local housing market distortions

precipitated by short-term rental platforms in major cities and popular tourist




“Airbnb is the worst idea that ever worked”.

Bryan Chesky, CEO of Airbnb



for architects and urban planners

Why is Airbnb interesting from an architects’ or urban planners’ point of view?

Started in October 2007 from two friends having difficulties to pay their rent and

thus renting out three air-mattresses for a Design Conference in San Francisco*,

the platform soon grew to the most common way to get an accommodation while

travelling worldwide.

After the interesting outcome of their experiment with air-mattresses: they

not only had gained enough to cover the rent, but also met interesting people

and established new social ties, Bryan Chesky and Joe Gebbia (both industrial

designers by profession) had their third founder: Nathan Blecharczyk (a software

engineer) joining them and founded the company.

After the big financial crisis striked in 2008, a lot of people faced the growing

economical difficulties. Airbnb provided a possibility for home-owners, from one

side, to monetize their underutilized rooms and houses, and from other side it

gave the people who travel the possibility to choose from various options at a

lower cost than a traditional hotel.

In the first couple of years the company was struggling to gain its critical mass

of users from both sides, to make it possible the network effect to work: the

more people would list their homes, the more travellers it would attract, and

on the contrary, the more people would use the website, the more it would gain

attractiveness for the home-owners to join. For making the mechanisms work really

well, all the three founders started to use their platform to get direct feedback from

teh hosts and to experience it as guests. They came up with lots of features which

helped people to overcome the trust issues of dealing with strangers, they also

introduced the service of the free professional photography for the hosts’ houses.

After several not really successful launches, the company finaly could find some

investors and during the 2008-2010 had some time to develop its philosophy of

belonging anywhere and the engineering of its platform with its sophisticated

internally, but extremely simple and user-friendly payment system and its trustbased

mechanisms. Since then both have improved but not changed in their core.

By the end of 2010 Airbnb reached its first important milestone: it passed the

1million bookings on the platform. The number of users of the platform grew

exponentially on both sides, mostly because of the word spread by its users:

statistically, one who uses the platform for the first time becomes a devoted Airbnb


* Gallagher L., Marshall C. L. The Airbnb Story. Penguine Random House, UK, 2017

two friends, three air-mattresses

company founded. 2007. October.




1 million bookings on Airbnb

network effect starts to work

5 millions bookings

6 months later

145 millions bookings ings

10 millions


Airbnb has more loggings than the 5 major hotel companies together

the Chinese version of the website is successfully launched


Airbnb is present in 191 countries

from total 195 existing

over 400 mln travellers and 2.9mln hosts on Airbnb

every year 14000 new hosts join Airbnb every night

there are 2mln stays in an Airbnb listing

user and tells about it to its friends and relatives. People usually use the service for

the first time when they travel with someone who is already familiar with how it

works, so the initial fear of staying at stranger’s home is overcome. And the same

way it works for hosts.

In 2012 the network effect worked with its full potential: by the beginning of the

year there were already 5 millions of bookings on Airbnb, in the coming 6 months

they doubled: Airbnb reached 10 million bookings. This was already a big success.

In the next three years, in 2015, Airbnb had 145 millions of bookings on his

platform. From that time on it lost the sense to count...The growth is not to stop

any soon: the only obstacle to the growth is considered not the fear of strangers,

not the rejection of the concept of homesharing, but simply the unawareness of it.

And the more time passes the more people join.

Today Airbnb is present in 191 countries (from the 195 officially recognized total).

It has over 400 million of travellers and over 2.9 million hosts on the platform.

Every night over 2 mln people stay in an Airbnb and every month over 14000 new

hosts join.


The main idea behind the Airbnb is the communal profit: doing well by doing

good. Besides the economical advantages it brings to the both parties, there is also

a strong social benefit of having to deal with real people directly and eliminating

the third man which in the traditional hospitality industry is the institution: the

hotel or hostel. The hosts, besides gaining some additional income for their spare

rooms (Airbnb charges them only 3%, the 97% of what the guest pays goes to the

host), could meet new people and have some cultural exchange. The guests could

spare some money for the accommodation and use it for something else during

their travel, they became the opportunity to choose from diverse options, not only

just rooms as is the case of the hotel, but entire apartments, homes, attics, treehouses,

castles, practically from any type of dwelling.

This is the first point interesting for us, architects. With its presence in almost

every country in the world (except Crimea, Iran, Syria and North Korea), it is an

interesting catalogue of people’s houses worldwide and its about the mass housing,

not single pieces of architecture that are usually in the focus of the attention.

Another feature of Airbnb is its tendency to promote travelling “as a local”. That is

also imprinted in the slogan of the company: “We immagine the world where you

can belong anywhere”.

55 f6 Airbnb add-campaign

Since the dwellings of city inhabitants can be located anywhere, not necessarily on

the main tourist routes, and the districts, where all the hotels are concentrated, the

traveller sees the life of the city as it is in its daily routine. This is a big advantage

for the city for it becomes guests more evenly distributed and they tend to spend

some money in the districts where they live, thus bringing some profit to the local

stores, cafes and so on. The hosts are encouraged to share their local knowledge

and advice to the guests places out of the touristy routes, where usually the city

locals would go. Staying in a home instead of the hotel lets the travellers to stay

longer (the average stay on Airbnb is 5 times longer than in a hotel) and it gives

them the possibility to feel more comfortable and to live the city more: for example,

the traditional hospitality industry focuses on hotel rooms as opposed to entire

suites, apartments, or homes. But these often lack amenities that make a longer

stay more comfortable, such as a full kitchen. On the homesharing platforms all

the amenities are usually included - often at a lower cost than traditional lodging,

and thus the travellers have the possibility to live more like at home and as a result

they spend some time visiting the local food markets and small shops, and become

more intimate knowledge of a city.

From an urban planners’ point of view it is interesting to evidence how some

districts previously not really notable in the city life become to fill with public

commercial facilities, because that districts are full of Airbnb listings and thus

there is a constant flow of tourists there.

Airbnb provokes also some troubles for the city. One of the accusations is that

the traditional hotels and hostels (mainly the mid-income, affordable ones) get

disrupted, because people prefer the home-sharing, many former hotels and

hostels can get abbandoned. The residential buildings get many strangers coming

and going, this may provoke some worries among the permanent residents who

are not familiar with the concept of the home-sharing or are against it. There are

also many resients who fight against mass-tourism (the case of Venice, Barcelona).

There may be some tensions on the traditional long-term rental market, since the

Airbnb short-term rental may seem more profitable for the hosts. A lot of the

property is taken away from the long-term rental market thus bringing problems

of rental housing shortage.

Some cities fight back, some cities accept Airbnb-friendly policies. In any case

the new realities globally suggest, that it is a start of some changes in the image,

infrastructure and demographics of the modern cities.



#author’s observations

Innovation cannot be stopped and should not be stopped.

Sharing economy changes the way the market used to work and requires a

transformation of the old-fashion legal structure. At the moment sharing

economy’s conduct is a grey area, in another words as it does not fit into

the traditional concept of legislation, it seem to be left out. The platforms

mostly operate in the self-regulatory area. This mostly worked in their

first days, but now brings a lot of accusations from all the sides. While

people, even knowing, that they are not exactly on the legal side, continue

to use the platforms, because they either prioritize their own profit, either

just not think they are doing something bad.

It is without doubt that the common interest for industry and governments would

be the establishment of fair and clear rules. In this situation there is a need for

regulation that fits the new innovative business model in a way that economic

growth is not hold back but consumer protection is more in focus. The interests

of the sharing economy customers, and not industries affected, should be kept

in the main focus: if Airbnb disrupts the hotel industry, the hotel industry has to

develop solutions to keep up with the changing times and moods of the customers.

If Airbnb is used as a platform to be an illegal hotelier - that should be avoided,

because it is not in line with the company, neither it is the point of its customers

to get a hotel instead of a home. But if Airbnb is helping some host to earn some

additional income and improves his living conditions, that has definitely a positive

impact on the city. And same regards other sharing ecnomy platforms.

At this moment it seems that cities, even in the same country, instead of joining

forces, are trying to act on their own. Even when the sharing economy platform is

ready to collaborate, this increases transaction cost and slows down innovation.

If each sharing company has to go through a long process and every city with the

legislatures, time and expenses will arise. Furthermore it would defeat the purpose

of the companies to establish international standards and equity among its users’

right overall.


A mute evidence of

the battle the Airbnb

and its supporters

were leading against

the city municipality

and the platforms


Previously, when the telecommunications where booming and the regulations

where too obsolete to keep up with the technology, many advanced countries

introduced the dynamic regulations. This can be a model to adopt also in the case

of sharing economy. The aim of such regulation is to keep up with innovation

by involving the different players of the market. Dynamic Regulation could be

implemented in the sharing economy, as the concept itself is close to the feedback

system the economy is built upon. This would mean that industry players would

provide feedback regarding the regulations. This method would help first of all

to create rules that are more precise to the industry and provides a chance for

decision makers to continuously evaluate the regulation and to decide upon and to

make the best possible outcomes for society without disrupting innovation.

The collaboration between the companies and the governments should be brought

to a higher and more intense level and based on a system of a continous two-sided

feedback. The new regulations should include some minimum standards regarding

the health and safety, that are now missing from the most of the companies’ trustbased

mechanism. But the new regulations should also undoubtedly, leave some

space for self-regulation, since it is the main thing that allowed to the sharing

economy companies to operate for so long without creating any big scale disasters

and create communities of enthusiastic users.



emergency accommodation

Maybe the most interesting social benefit that the company brings are its new

divisions: Open Homes, Airbnb Citizen and Samara. Being aware that they have

established a new culture of home-sharing, hospitality and trust and have a big

community of international supporters (which physically participate, and not

only sympathize to the company), Airbnb, after the hurricane Sandy in NY came

up with the idea that the people who list their homes on Airbnb are already used

to and happy to have guests in their homes, so they may be willing to join the

company in helping people who are left without a place to stay during some natural

disasters. Basically, when disasters strike, Airbnb activates its hosts through the

response tool integrated to the platform and automatically contacts hosts in the

impacted and surrounding area asking if they have extra space they would like to

share with their displaced neighbours at no cost. Hosts who choose to participate

have their space listed on the Airbnb disaster response portal.

In the same way people who are willing to share their homes with those who for

some reasons need a place to stay. This can be the case of medical stays: hosts

open their homes for people on the road to recovery. Typically these guests need

housing while they receive treatment or when they travel for respite. The stays

are coordinated by nonprofits who help patients get the care they need. And, of

course, another category to get help in this way are the refuges: people moving to

a new city and hoping to integrate into the community. The stays are coordinated

by refugee relief organizations on behalf of their clients.

From its side, Airbnb not only provides the platform, but also run those who book

against regulatory, terrorist, and sanctions watchlists. In the United States, and

they also conduct background checks. Though accidents like property damage

are rare, the company provides The Host Guarantee that will reimburse every

host for qualifying property damages up to $1,000,000. Before any stay, agency

representatives and guests booking directly in the event of a disaster must create

an Airbnb account and will be asked to provide details, including a full name,

date of birth, photo, phone number, email address and payment information thus

providing much transparency to this operation.

Through Open Homes, hosts have already offered temporary housing to over

11,000 people.


rural communities support

Maybe the most interesting social benefit that the company brings are its new

divisions: Open Homes, Airbnb Citizen and Samara. Being aware that they have

established a new culture of home-sharing, hospitality and trust and have a big

community of international supporters (which physically participate, and not

only sympathize to the company), Airbnb, after the hurricane Sandy in NY came

up with the idea that the people who list their homes on Airbnb are already used

to and happy to have guests in their homes, so they may be willing to join the

company in helping people who are left without a place to stay during some natural

disasters. Basically, when disasters strike, Airbnb activates its hosts through the

response tool integrated to the platform and automatically contacts hosts in the

impacted and surrounding area asking if they have extra space they would like to

share with their displaced neighbours at no cost. Hosts who choose to participate

have their space listed on the Airbnb disaster response portal.

In the same way people who are willing to share their homes with those who for

some reasons need a place to stay. This can be the case of medical stays: hosts

open their homes for people on the road to recovery. Typically these guests need

housing while they receive treatment or when they travel for respite. The stays

are coordinated by nonprofits who help patients get the care they need. And, of

course, another category to get help in this way are the refuges: people moving to

a new city and hoping to integrate into the community. The stays are coordinated

by refugee relief organizations on behalf of their clients.

From its side, Airbnb not only provides the platform, but also run those who book

against regulatory, terrorist, and sanctions watchlists. In the United States, and

they also conduct background checks. Though accidents like property damage

are rare, the company provides The Host Guarantee that will reimburse every

host for qualifying property damages up to $1,000,000. Before any stay, agency

representatives and guests booking directly in the event of a disaster must create

an Airbnb account and will be asked to provide details, including a full name,

date of birth, photo, phone number, email address and payment information thus

providing much transparency to this operation.

Through Open Homes, hosts have already offered temporary housing to over

11,000 people.



* or how the Architects designed

our homes in the last century

“The architecture of the large city depends essentially on the solution given to two factors: the elementary cell and the urban organism as a whole. The single room

as the constituent element of the habitation will determine the aspect of the habitation, and since the habitations in turn form block, the room will become a factor

of urban configuration, which is architecture’s true goal.Reciprocally, the planimetric structure of the city will have a substantial influence on the design of the

habitation and the room.”

Ludwig Hilberseimer, from Grossstadtarchitektur


a German art school that worked from 1919 to

1933 under first W.Gropius (1919-28), Hannes

Meyer (1928-30), Mies van der Rohe (1930-33).

The key idea in the foundation of the school

was the Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art)

in which all arts, including architecture, would

eventually be brought together. The Bauhaus was

one of the most influential currents of its time

and had a profound influence upon subsequent

developments in art, architecture, graphic design,

interior design, industrial design, and typography.


International Congresses of Modern Architecture,

was an organization founded in 1928 and disbanded

in 1959, responsible for a series of events

and congresses arranged across Europe by the

most prominent architects of the time, with the

objective of spreading the principles of the Modern

Movement focusing in all the main domains

of architecture.

Co-op Zimmer

in his photographs of the corner of a room that

is characterised at least as much by the absence

of people, objects, and spatial features as by

the distinctiveness of its design, Hannes Meyer

gave expression to a radical, anti-bourgeois style

of interior. Architecture and design were not

meant to fulfil historically determined needs

but to overcome these very constraints. Meyer’s

Co-op Interieur was not a recommendation for

a mode of interior design but rather a manifesto

proclaiming an alternative principle of housing

and “living” and, by extension, a new world.


“total work of art”, “ideal work of art”, “universal

artwork” - in architecture is used to signify

circumstances where an architect is responsible

for the design and/or overseeing of the building’s

totality: shell, accessories, furnishings, and


After Art Nouveau a distinctly modern approach

to the concept of architectural Gesamtkunstwerk

emerged with the Bauhaus school where the figure

of the architect was seen in a strict cooperation

with the craftsmen.


The 1929 conference of the Congrès International

d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM)

focused international attention on Frankfurt’s

ambitious housing program and on international

attempts to define the minimum habitable

dwelling. The research to determine new

standards for housing to ensure that minimum

requirements for living. was a responce to the

urgent need for housing for the working class

following World War I and was in the centre

of attention of all the prominent architects of

that time.

Frankfurt kitchen

a milestone in domestic architecture, considered

the forerunner of modern fitted kitchens,

for it realised for the first time a kitchen built

after a unified concept, designed to enable

efficient work and to be built at low cost. It

was designed in 1926 by Austrian architect

Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky for architect Ernst

May’s social housing project New Frankfurt

in Frankfurt, Germany.[1] Some 10,000 units

were built in the late 1920s in Frankfurt

L’Esprit Nouveau

an important magazine for art and French

architecture founded in March 1920 in Paris

by Le Corbusier and Amédée Ozenfant and

published from 1920 to 1925. The magazine

was a platform for architectural discussions

and development of the most groundbreaking

ideas of its time

Neue Sachlichkeit

in architecture, as in painting and literature,

describes German work of the transitional

years of the early 1920s in the Weimar culture,

as a direct reaction to the stylistic excesses of

Expressionist architecture and the change in

the national mood. Eventually developped into

the Neues Bauen movement: a movement,

that flourished in the brief period before the

rise of the Nazis. Architects such as Bruno

Taut, Erich Mendelsohn and Hans Poelzig

turned to New Objectivity’s straightforward,

functionally minded, matter-of-fact approach

to construction. The movement encompassed

public exhibitions like the Weissenhof Estate,

the massive urban planning and public housing

projects of Taut and Ernst May, and the

influential experiments at the Bauhaus.

plan libre

refers to an open plan with non load-bearing

walls dividing interior space. In this structural

system, the building structure is separate of the

interior partitions. The method largely credits

to Le Corbusier


a planning method based on discreet rooms and

a dynamic section. This method places great

emphasis on the scale of individual rooms and

often requires steps into each room or cluster

of rooms. The method largely belongs to the

architect Adolf Loos and requires a high level

of structural awareness and ability to model


social housing

an umbrella term referring to rental housing

which may be owned and managed by the state,

by non-profit organizations, or by a combination

of the two, usually with the aim of providing

affordable housing. Became widespread

globally after the Second World War.

Unité d’Habitation

a modernist residential housing design principle

developed by Le Corbusier: a communal

living arrangement for all the inhabitants to

shop, play, live, and come together in a “vertical

garden city.”


a housing estate built for exhibition in Stuttgart

in 1927. It was an international showcase

of what later became known as the International

style of modern architecture. Two of its

buildings, designed by Le Corbusier, as well as

several of his other works, were inscribed as

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Wiener Werkstätte

a production community of visual artists in

Vienna, Austria bringing together architects,

artists and designers working in ceramics,

fashion, silver, furniture and the graphic arts ;

established in 1903 by Koloman Moser and Josef

Hoffmann. Regarded as a pioneer of modern

design, and its influence can be seen in later

styles such as Bauhaus and Art Deco.


#author’s observations

The Birth

of Caterina Cornaro,

unknown author,

Venice, 16th century

The house in the

Medieval ages was

a busy and bustling

place always full of

guests, servants,

family members and


The Western concept of privacy as we know it now in was born in the XVII

century. And that is where the history of the modern house starts.

Before that, in the middle ages, people shared communal living space and lived

most of their lives publicly in the midst of other people. And it regards also

the wealthiest of them. People didn’t have rooms for specific functions, rather

the function was given by moving and arranging the furnitures according to the

needs. In the medieval houses there weren’t enough separate rooms for all so the

houses were often overcrowded by family members, servants and guests, staying

all in same rooms. Even individual beds are a modern invention. As one of the

most expensive items in the home, a single large bed became a place for social

gatherings, where guests were invited to sleep with the entire family and some


With the pre-industrial revolution (1600–1840), partly thanks to the technological

advancements, which made the construction of houses with separate spaces

affordable, partly because of the understanding of the dangers of the overcrowding

(Europe experienced the Plague epidemics one after the other, the Black Death

alone killed over 100 million people), the home becomes private. Family members

and servants start living in close quarters but already in separate spaces.


from crisis to crisis

end of 19th century to 1914

The foundations for the architecture of the modern dwelling were laid down in

the late 19th century by the perception of the house as a work of art. A notable

project to define this concept is the Red House at Bexleyheath, England, designed

by Philip Webb for W.Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement in general. In

Continental Europe the same concept was reflected in the Art Nouveau, headed

by the works of Victor Horta and especially the Hôtel Tassel in Brussels, Belgium,

built in 1892-3.

The perception of the house as a work of art was a natural outcome of the Industrial

revolution and an opposition to the mass-production and stylistical imitation it

had provoked.

The XX century started in the same mood of architects opposing the

Gesamtkunstwerk concept to the mass-taste. In 1903 Joseph Hoffman and Moser

form the Wiener Werkstätte a production community of visual artists in Vienna,

bringing together architects, artists and designers working in ceramics, fashion,

silver, furniture and the graphic arts.

In this same period Adolf Loos does his research on main notions in architecture.

He publishes his groundbreaking “Ornament and Crime” in 1908, and experiments

by applying the concepts he has on the houses he gets commisioned (Haus Steiner,

Haus Scheu 1910-12). By 1912-13 Loos comes with his idea of Raumplan - a

planning method based on discreet rooms and a dynamic section. This method

places great emphasis on the scale of individual rooms and often requires steps into

each room or cluster of rooms. Although the outcome was extremely interesting

when applied to architectural projects (for example Loos’s post-war projects such

as Rufer House (1922) and Mueller House (1930)), unfortunately, this design

method is not destined to become a mainstream for the following decades.


The First World War starts. The architectural research freezes, construction stops

and gives way to the overall chaos and destruction.


After the Industrial revolution many

people moved to towns and cities to find

work and usually rented their homes

from private landlords. The most poor

lived in overcrowded slum housing.

There was very bad hygiene and disease.

Shortages of land meant that large

numbers of people were crammed into

small spaces.

If the situation with the housing in

Europe before WWI was already tense,

after it everything got even worse: it

became clear that Europe was facing an

acute shortage of housing.

Building costs were inflated and this, combined with a scarcity of materials such as

bricks, cement and wood - and labour, made it impossible for private developers

to provide houses with rents within reach of the average working class family.

Housing became the focus of governments’ attention and responsibility: for the

first time the idea of social housing was introduced.

The next decade saw the architects focusing mainly on the question of dwelling.

The most progressive ideas of the time get published in the magazine L’Esprit

Nouveau during 1920-1925. In the same period, in 1923, Le Corbusier publishes

his “Vers une architecture” which will be translated to English couple of years ago.

That will be the no-coming-back point in the architecture.

Architects continue to manifest the need of freeing up the house from all the

unnecessary stuff and at the same time to provide the basic society unit: the

nuclear family, with a habitation that has everything needed for life.

The interwar period was particularly crucial for urban policies in Europe because

it was characterized by an intense architectural and programmatic debate

concerning the form of the city and the production of social housing. Of the

European experiences Das rote Wien (Vienna, 1919-1934) and Das neue Frankfurt

(Frankfurt am Main, 1925-1933) developed the most important typological

solutions in answer to postwar housing problems.

interwar years

* image: Paris after the WWI. Archive photograph from 1918 68

In 1926 Ernst May presented his “Das Neue Frankfurt” with a set of new standards

based on the progressive architectural visions and new hygenic norms. This is the

first time when the Frankfurt Kitchen designed by Grete Lihotzky is introduced.

This was a milestone in domestic architecture and it is considered the forerunner

of modern fitted kitchens, for it realised for the first time a kitchen built after

a unified concept, designed to enable efficient work and to be built at low cost.

Some 10,000 units were built in the late 1920s in Frankfurt based on the proposed


In the same year the Swiss architect Hannes Meyer, who soon will become the

second director of the Bauhaus school, publishes a series of photographs entitled

Co-op. Interieur and depicting a corner of a room, characterised by the absence of

people, objects, and spatial features and by the distinctiveness of its design, For its

time, it is an expression of a radical, anti-bourgeois style of interior. Meyer’s Coop

Interieur was not a recommendation for a mode of interior design but rather

a manifesto proclaiming an alternative principle of housing and “living” and, by

extension, a new world.

interwar years

Same year in the architectural critic Adolf Behne in his essay for a popular Berlin

monthly magazine writes about it: “Extreme. A modern room, which will not be

to everyone’s taste.”

Already the next year - in 1927 two crucial housing developments are built:

the Weissenhofssiedlung in Stuttgart by a collaborative effort of the periods

most progressive architects (P. Behrens, Le Corbusier, J.Frank, W.Gropius,

L.Hilberseimer, J.P.Oud, Mies van der Rohe, Scharoun, B.Taut and others) and the

Kiefhoek Housing Development in Rotterdam by Oud.

Two years later, in 1929, (the interwar period is really intense for architectural

breakthroughs) Mies designs his German Pavillion in Barcelona manifesting the

modern way of living for the few ones who could afford it, and the same year CIAM

(The International Congress for Modern Architecture) holds its 2nd Congress

at Frankfurt-am-Main with the topic: Die Wohnung für das Existenzminimum

(Apartment for the Minimal Dwelling).

The architects do an attempt to define the minimum habitable dwelling and to

determine new standards for housing to ensure that minimum requirements for



From that moment on everything that the family may need gets fit into the small

area of the apartment. Although the architects are putting an effort to place in the

housing developments also some public facilities for communal use, the isolation

of the society unit in its private apartment starts here.

Next year, in 1930, three important private house projects get realized: Villa

Tugendhat in Brno by Mies, Villa Savoye in Poissy by Le Corbusier and Villa

Müller by Loos. Same year the Stockhold Exhibition led by Asplund takes place.

And still in the same year, Karl Ehn designs the Karl Marx Hof housing in Vienna.

The coming years in Europe are seeing the architectural research to brake. The

overall atmosphere gets tense and many important architects start to flee away.


* image: Bauatelier Gropius photographed in 1927–28


Chaos and destruction again, on even larger scale.

postwar period 1945-1950-s

Now even on a more global level, the postwar world was facing an unprecedented

housing demand. Only in Britain the government had to build more than a million

homes in a couple of years to replace those destroyed by the war.

With cars being affordable to the middle class, real estate developers offered a new

form of living: the car-oriented suburban living. It is now, that the most attractive

to people ara again the urban centers. At that time, it was an attractive prospect to

live in a quiet suburb of a polluted and crowded town.

The jump in manufacturing prowess through the WWI had helped auto companies

to accelerated development of manufacturing methods. By the 1920s, cars would

become affordable to the masses. By the 1930s, with affordable cars and abundant

cheap oil, the auto and energy industries were seeking big outlet markets to

capitalize. After the WWII that market was found: the housing demand.

71 * image: Europe after WWII. source: Source: “Savage Continent”, book by K. Lowe

Moving from the city centers to the quiet and clean periferies became the focus of

attention of the times progressive architects.

It is in this context that Corbusier proposes his vision for the European city centers

reconstruction and starts to research the mass-producted standardized housing

options. By the 1952 Le Corbusier he comes up with the concept of a house as

a living machine. The first Unité d’Habitation in Marseille is built. And it would

become a model for housing development ever since. And while the original

project is considering not only the private cells but also a large amount of public

facilities and spaces, the developments built on that example later on have taken

only the concept of standardized, maximally pre-fabricated, affordable living units

of minimal dimensions.

Countless housing developments built quick and cheaply arise in the periferies of

not only European towns, but also in the USSR and Asia. This result in monotonous,

low-quality, not very durable housing districts in the suburbs of almost every big

city. The criticism arises decades after. People want to live again in the city centers.

This results to a new wave of real estate speculations and high pricing.

From that point on the housing estate develops around this model. Gradually, with

the economical development the living units start to get more spacious, the quality

of the construction gets better and the public spaces in the housing developments

become some dignity. Parallel to this process, the houses previously liberated from

the useless stuff start to fill themselves again with things: the Capitalism enters in

its Golden Age overall around the globe and affects any household


* image: collage by Le Corbusier about the Unité d’Habitation, 1952



The postwar economic expansion, also known as the postwar economic boom and

the Golden Age of Capitalism, was a period of strong economic growth beginning

after WWII.The United States, Soviet Union, Western European and East Asian

countries in particular experienced unusually high and sustained growth, together

with full employment. This high growth also included many countries that had

been devastated by the war, such as Japan (Japanese post-war economic miracle),

West Germany and Austria (Wirtschaftswunder), France (Trente Glorieuses),

Italy and Greek (Italian and Greek economic miracles), Taiwan (Taiwan Miracle)

and South Korea (Miracle of the Han River).

The wartime production had helped to pull the local economies in action. From

the late 1940s on the young adults saw a remarkable rise in their spending power.

Jobs were plentiful, wages were higher, and because of the lack of consumer

goods during the war, people were eager to spend. During the same years, young

couples were marrying and having children at unprecedented rates - this was also

the period of Baby Boom. New and expanded government programs allowed many

young families to purchase their own homes, often located in rapidly expanding


The new ideology leading the society became the moto “more, newer, better”,

advertisement thrived provoking unprecedented dynamic mass consumption

economy boom. While this phase stopped soon in the Sowiet Union, giving place

to the internal problems, in the countries of the Western world and in Asia, this

was exactly the case.

People started to invest in items based around home and family life. At war’s

end, the items people most desired included televisions, cars, washing machines,

refrigerators, toasters, and vacuum cleaners: the machines that would help them

modernize their lives. The life cycle of things became shorter in order to satisfy

the ever growing appetites. Television and car sales skyrocketed in the 1950s.

With the massive growth in suburban populations, automobiles were needed

more than ever, and were within reach for many first-time buyers. Families of

all income brackets were buying televisions and the television provided a potent

medium for advertisers to reach inside peoples’ homes, creating desires for other

products. The browsing, selection and purchase of goods

and commodities became one of the defining activities

of the modern urban life.


At first perceived as the American phenomenon, the consumerist lifestyle has

soon spilled over to the rest of the world through globalization and the rise of

the free market economy. Possessing things, more and more things like houses,

vehicles, equipment, furniture, products: all this became an indicator of power and

status in the modern society. The world entered in a period when the planet got

most polluted and congested by the indequate and irresponsible consumption

and as a consequence the waste production. This regards as the industries, as

well as the side-effects produced by the cars. Today the results of this lifestyle are

well known and have led to the biggest challenges the modern society is facing:

climate change and social unequality.

* image: US add from 1971 74


the big questions to ask

And then...

The consumerism boom, first of all in the US, led to a situation when homes were

built not by small developers, but mostly by large public home-building companies,

which were building homes so quickly they outpaced the demand. The result

was an oversupply of single-family houses for sale.

Mortgage lenders, which make money by charging origination fees and thus had

an incentive to write as many mortgages as possible, responded to the glut by

trying to put buyers into those homes. Soon they ran out of qualified buyers who

could make the 20% down payment and had a high enough income to cover the

monthly mortgage payments, with an interest rate determined by the borrower’s

credit score. There was still an immense quantity of homes to fill and so they

started cutting corners. Banks went for subprime mortgages, mortgages to people

with low credit scores, their down payment requirements gradually decreased to

almost nothing. This led to a flow of people who couldn’t typically afford buying a

house to get mortgages for it. The real estate investors helped inflate the housing

bubble by buying houses, holding them for a brief period, and then flipping them

for a tidy profit.

What began as ill-advised American mortgage lending became an unprecedented

global financial crisis.


One of the biggest consequences of the crisis of 2008 which was provoked by the

real estate speculations is the global shortage of affordable housing.

The problem has been fuelled by a number of factors such as the rising population,

changing lifestyles with more single occupancy, land availability and cost. At

the same time, wages in many parts of the world and sectors of the economy have

not kept pace with the growth in house prices. At the same time the rents grew,

leaving people with even less available options for living.

Housing prices rose consistently, if not dramatically leading to increasing pressure

on the existing stock of affordable housing. Just an example from Europe: a number

of studies documents a nationwide deficit of 4.2 million social housing units in

Germany. The questions is even more dramatic in the emerging countries, where

the population is growing and the rural regions lose their attraction in favor of the

big cities. So this will be the global issue to solve starting from right now and in

the coming decade. But is the answer the same for the developed countries and

for the developing ones? And which are the issues to adress?

The big question is wether to build huge amount of affordable social housing

taking on the existing models or to revise the way we are used to think about

the housing.

The most obvious: the quantitative housing question: to provide enough dwellings

in cities or regions for the respective local demand and what is important here,

to ensure it answers the needs of the various household types (singles/elderly/

families). The growth of one-person households increases the absolute demand

for housing but rises also a social question: so we provide all of those singles with

their own apartments. What is the impact on the society if it consists

of mainly solitarian autonomous homes?

Other question is where to locate those low-priced new stocks? Usually the solution

are the periferies and mostly unattractive tresholds of the city. Is it possible to

cover instead as many urban areas as possible to ensure the vitality of the city?

In the economically consolidated cities and economically booming regions,

immigration and constant in- and out-flow of people becomes something to



“...Perciò ogni città ne contiene altre: le città

che essa è stata, e che vi hanno lasciato

impronte piú o meno marcate, ma anche le

città potenziali che essa avrebbe potuto essere,

e non fu, e che talvolta si vedono incarnate,

per somiglianza o affinità, in altre



Salvatore Settis “Se Venezia muore” 2014


Of Venice and Shanghai

and how they treat the Time differently.



#author’s observations

#venice #shanghai



It is hard to predict the future of our cities and how a new network of dwellings,

a totally new typology of housing, could make routes in different places. The

processes of change in different cities have different speed and are affected by

different local factors.

One evident way to categorize the cities would be their separation by cities of the

Old World and cities of the emerging economies.

To track the immaginary diffusion of the new home-network on those two

polarities, two very specific cities where chosen: Venice and Shanghai. Both are

cosmopolotan, commercial cities in their DNA, both have thrived and enriched

themselves thanks to the contacts with the outer world, to their openness and the

ability to absorb cultural diversity and merge into their own identity. Both Venice

and Shanghai have very special relation to the sea and both are crossed by a main


Shanghai is a city that really fast-forwarded the time: in the last three decades, after

opening the city to the international trade, the city exploded in both its size and

population. Upon some reflection one can actually come to understanding, that

this boom was nothing new for the city. Back in the 16th century it was a small,

walled city closed to the world. When in the 19th century it opened to foreigners,

they started to establish their concessions out of the city walls and gradually

the city grew out of its initial walls and around the new concessions. Gradually

it became one unique city with a controversial and international identity. What

Shanghai is today is a result of international influence, market economy and of

course, globalization. This city example is a condensed in time scenario of growth

of the new cities in emerging economies.

On the other side of the world there is Venice. In its form it hardly changed since

the last centuries. Partly, thanks to the specific natural conditions in which the city

is built. Partly because of the Western, particularly Italian understanding of the

value of beauty, culture and heritage. Anyway, almost frozen in time in its outer

image, the city experienced the same globalization, as the rest of the world. And if

cities of the new type are ready for it, they are feeding from it, in the case of the old

historical cities this relation is more sophisticated. Venice feeds from globalization

and mainly - mass tourism. But at the same time it faces huge problems because of

it. And it is a problem of almost all historical cities, maybe on a less evident level,

or maybe on a more early stage of the process.

* f7 artwork by Davide Bramante 80



195.581 ha

urban extent of Shanghai by 1991

468.872 ha

urban extent by 2015

closed city

map of 16th century Shanghai

international city

opened to foreigners in 19th century

1987. view to the Pudong area

1984 aerial view of Shanghai

2014 same, 30 years later

* images: NASA Earth Observatory

2014. same, 27 years later




residents’ protests

XVIII c. Canaletto times

1940-s aerial view of Venice

2018 same, today

* on the left: wartime archive photograph, on the right: Google Maps image

XXI c. Our days


Shanghai population growth 1980-2035 (in millions)

we are here




15 mln

registered residents

government set limit













1980 5.9















10 mln

long-term migrants

(with no registration)

300 mln

tourists annualy

floating population

rural migrants students tourists visiting relatives visiting for work


What Shanghai experienced ever since it opened the borders for the international

trade and in-flow of foreigners, is an intensive population growth. In 1980-s the

population of Shanghai comprised 5.9mln people. It grew every year and by today

the population is more than 25 mln, which is the limit the government has set for

the city, in order to keep it livable.

The population now consists of 15mln registered residents. And then there are

another 10mln of people - long-term migrants with no registration. Those are

mostly people who move to Shanghai for work from the rural areas and the

students. Besides, the city is visited by 300mln tourists annualy. All of those

together comprise the so called “floating population” of Shanghai. And all of this

population needs housing adapted for what they need. This is a problem of big

scale nowadays in Shanghai and is one of the main points to work on indicated in

the official masterplan of Shanghai for the coming years.


population decline since 1951

we are here

1951 174 808


167 069

145 402

123 733

111 550

104 206

2.5 mln tourists

99 189

95 222

86 072

78 165

3.7 mln tourists

71 053

66 386

65 695

64 076

63 947

63 353

62 296

61 611

60 755

5.4 mln tourists

population after the plague


60 311

59 942

59 621

58 991

58 215

56 683

56 311

9.5 mln tourists

55 583

55 075

53 835






























floating population

daily commuters creatives students overnight tourists excursionists

Venice is experiencing exactly the opposite process. The city is losing its population:

low birth and death rates are one of the reasons, but the biggest issue is that the

redisents are leaving the city.

The population declined every year since 1951. At that time Venice had 174 808

inhabitants. By 1980 Venice got less population left, than the city had after the

plague. Starting from the new millenium the city loses around 1000 inhabitants

every year. Today it has less than 54000 inhabitants left.

At the same time the city is experiencing booming mass-tourism and a

transformation provoked by it. The number of tourists grows from year to year. In

the 1990 2.5mln tourists visited the city. In 2020 it was already 3.7 millions. In the

next 10 years this number grew to 5.4 mln. In the year 2017 the city saw some 9.5

mln tourists coming.



Centro Storico

798 ha total area 74.8 ha

1/10 of the city results empty



* Map by students of IUAV, acad. year 2014-15, course led by prof. Laura Fregolent

The natural outcome of residents leaving their city is the abandon of its spaces.

One of the reasons for the abandonment of the residential buildings of the

Venetian historic center is the high cost of rents for working residents in Venice.

As the tourist presence grows, a remarkable growth experience also the receptive

structures, not only hotels, but also bed & breakfasts and teh Airbnb apartments.

The real estate owners start to feel the convenience of renting their rooms and

apartments for short periods rather than for long terms. As much the residents

leave, the more it affects also the traditional businesses of the city. Some old

commercial stores and family artisan shops close giving place to tourist-oriented

shops. The life for people who are permanent residents becomes even more


The abandoned stock becomes a subject for real estate speculations, but in a more

optimistic scenario can become an opportunity for some redevelopment and reuse

interventions that can adress the current problem in a new way.


8300sqm 11000sqm 26000sqm

abandoned underutilized temporarily empty

abandoned underutilized temporarily empty



The map of airbnb presence in Venice is quite shocking. The only spots, where

there are no listings are either churches, museum or hotels. There is an Airbnb in

practically every palazzo.

Currently there are around 6497 listings located on the Venetian islands. and the

mainland has some modest 1.015 listings.

A relatively high percentage of listings on the mainland (47% or 472) are “private”

rooms, suggesting that Airbnb hosts are residents there - however on closer

inpection, one can see that more than onethird of them are multiple: where the

host has more than one room listed, which usually implies that the hosts are not

just sharing their home(s), but running a full-time business, renting out multiple



* 2017 data from “Inside Airbnb” online, independent and non-commercial tool

Centro Storico


listings in Venice (islands)


(up to 135 listings by one host)

5330 (82%)

entire homes/apartments

listings available

all year round

1113 (17.1%)

private rooms

4413 (67.9%) 5447 (83.8%) 1050 (16.2%)

listings with

low availability



listings in Cannaregio

1235 (78%)

entire homes/apartments

330 (20.8%)

private rooms

On the islands of Venice, instead, with 5,012 listings, the vast majority (3,997 or

80%) are for entire apartments. That means that the hosts don’t live there. Almost

2,000 apartments (1,953) are estimated to be rented frequently (an occupancy

of more than 90 nights per year) on average at €131/night for 195 nights of the

year. The average income of a host is estimated to be €1,067 per month, which is

higher than the average monthly income for the long-term rental. Cannaregio is

the district which has the biggest amount of Airbnb stays during the year and is

also the one that has experienced the biggest abbandon. There are currently 1584

listings available there with 78% of them being for entire apartments.

The situation seems unusual and alarming untill one looks to what happens in the

other cities. Are the cities elsewhere experiencing the same?





10337 listings

61.6% available all year

42.7% multilistings

7340 (71%)

2883 (27.9%)

114 (1.1%)


20545 listings

37.6% available all year

12.6% multilistings

16576 (80.7%)

3854 (18.8%)

115 (0.6%)


60529 listings

31.5% available all year

19.5% multilistings

52647 (87%)

7361 (12.2%)

521 (0.9%)


20114 listings

26.7% available all year

21.3% multilistings

16031 (79.7%)

4019 (20%)

64 (0.3%)


20493 listings

84.8% available all year

66.3% multilistings

15190 (74.1%)

4950 (24.2%)

353 (1.7%)


* 2017 data from “Inside Airbnb” online, independent and non-commercial tool



6192 listings

57.8% available all year

36% multilistings

3997 (64.6%)

2112 (34.1%)

83 (1.3%)

New York

47542 listings

45.5% available all year

27.3% multilistings

23870 (50.2%)

22546 (47.4%)

1126 (2.4%)


17986 listings

73% available all year

39.3% multilistings

12837 (71.4%)

4756 (26.4%)

393 (2.2%)

San Francisco

7072 listings

57.9% available all year

27.3% multilistings

4366 (61.7%)

2524 (35.7%)

182 (2.6%)


26295 listings

27.2% available all year

22.4% multilistings

13705 (52.1%)

12280 (46.7%)

310 (1.2%)

Los Angeles

39672 listings

57.6% available all year

51.2% multilistings

24125 (60.8%)

13856 (34.9%)

1691 (4.3%)


17221 listings

64.2% available all year

58.7% multilistings

6925 (40.2%)

10129 (58.8%)

167 (1%)


33481 listings

36.5% available all year

34.1% multilistings

20324 (60.7%)

12579 (37.6%)

578 (1.7%)


49348 listings

58.8% available all year

40.9% multilistings

25285 (51.2%)

23357 (47.3%)

706 (1.4%)


10619 listings

64.5% available all year

31.4% multilistings

6377 (60.1%)

4092 (38.5%)

150 (1.7%)


Different cities treat Airbnb differently.


Amsterdam was heralded as the first city in the World to pass an “Airbnb-friendly

law”, and Airbnb vowed to send an e-mail twice a year to hosts reminding them of

the local laws. In February 2014, Amsterdam created a new category of housing,

a “Particuliere Vakantieverhuur”, or “private vacation rental” which allows short

term vacation rentals to tourists under the following conditions:

- Only the registered, main occupant of a dwelling may rent out a property.

- The owner is the only person that can rent out the property, in most cases

Amsterdam leases prohibit a tenant renting to others.

- The dwelling must not be rented for more than two months a year in total

- No more than 4 people can rent a property at a time

Anyway even the friendly law is not enough to keep up with the trend. There

are currently 6,183 “Entire homes/apartments” (33% against the total number of

listings) that were estimated to be booked for more 60 nights a year (and against

the law). 1,299 listings that are available to accommodate more than 4 people (and

against the law - this is underestimated, because it doesn’t account for multiple

listings in the same apartment).


Paris has the largest number of Airbnb listings than any other city in the world.

More than 52,000 listings, and 86% of them entire homes, while in almost the

same period that Airbnb has been active in Paris, it has been estimated that about

20,000 apartments have disappeared from the traditional rental market.

The “Bill ALUR”, a national housing law, signed by the President of France

in March 2014, allows for the rental of a property owner’s “primary residence”

without asking permission from local city agencies. In Paris, this means it is legal

to rent out your primary residence only if the owner lives there for more than four

months out of the year.

For residential properties where the property owner does not permanently live, it

is illegal to rent out the property for less than a year at a time unless it is registered

as a commercial property with the city. City officials, estimate that around half

of properties advertised on Airbnb are not primary residences and that only a


tiny fraction of owners bother to register them as commercial properties. Those

caught renting out unlicensed secondary apartments, or renting out their primary

residences for more than four months, face fines of up to 25,000 euros, or follow

the “rule of compensation”, be required to acquire a commercial property and turn

it into a residential one.


The Catalan Tourist Act requires that homes used for tourist stays of less than

30 days are required to be registered with the Catalan Tourist Office prior to

commencing operation. The registration number must be displayed when

advertising the home. But the data shows that 78% (11,520 out of 14,699 listings)

have no license number displayed and are probably unlicensed and illegal.

In July 2014, Airbnb was fined €30,000 along with 7 other internet sites for a

“serious” breach of local laws.

New York

This is a city where the platform really gained its first momentum, and a city where

the battle against Airbnb is at its hottest point. New York is a city of renters, vacancy

rates are at crisis levels, and rents continue to rise. Income levels for the average

New Yorker haven’t kept pace, and affordability is at record lows. The accusation

posed to Airbnb it that it addresses the demand for tourist accommodation and

creates an income stream for “hosts,” and ignores both the need for and loss of

housing. Airbnb is accudef of covering the unlicensed, unregulated and untaxed

hotels in residential neighborhoods and in promoting gentrification.

The company strikes back with making its data open, making the voice of its hosts

community to be heard and with active lobbying and marketing campaigns to

force the city and state to legitimize their business model and legalize Airbnb

hosts’ activities.

So the laws are quite strict but it doesn’t stop most of the Airb-nb hosts to rent

out they property, or the place that they are currently renting. What is it that

makes so many people around the globe to share their homes? What makes

tens of tousands people to break the law? Can it be just the greed or there is

something else in it?



#author’s observations

Now, one can tell that Venice is losing its residents. But

in reality the city is always full. We can change the way

we look at the situation. What if Venice is not losing

residents, but has got a new type of a city dweller?

A mix of a local, permanent resident that was living

there for ages, and another one: the transient dweller,

the one that is always present in the city, but changing

its person every moment.

Isn’t it the same happening elsewhere, but in a more

spread, less concentrated way? Our cities are full of

people who come for work or leisure and are eager

to feel local even for the short period of their stay.

The challenge is to understand how the locals and

the transients can coexist in a peaceful, balanced and

symbiotic way.

And the solution may well be the confrontation. For the

permanent residents have a lot to share about their city

and the way they live it, and the transients shouldn’t

be seen as an unevitable evil. Well, unevitable - yes,

but rather a source of something new, be it the profit

they bring, or their working energy or a new culture

and diversity.


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