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Urban Sci. 2018, 2(3), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2030088

Domesticity On-Demand: The Architectural and Urban Implications of Airbnb in Melbourne, Australia

School of Architecture, Monash Art Design and Architecture (MADA), Monash University, Caulfield East, Melbourne 3145, Australia
Received: 14 July 2018 / Revised: 5 September 2018 / Accepted: 7 September 2018 / Published: 12 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sharing Cities Shaping Cities)
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Abstract

The home-sharing platform, Airbnb, is disrupting the social and spatial dynamics of cities. While there is a growing body of literature examining the effects of Airbnb on housing supply in first-world, urban environments, impacts on dwellings and dwelling typologies remain underexplored. This research paper investigates the implications of “on-demand domesticity” in Australia’s second largest city, Melbourne, where the uptake of Airbnb has been enthusiastic, rapid, and unregulated. In contrast to Airbnb’s opportunistic use of existing housing stock in other global cities, the rise of short-term holiday rentals and the construction of new homes in Melbourne has been more symbiotic, perpetuating, and even driving housing models—with some confronting results. This paper highlights the challenges and opportunities that Airbnb presents for the domestic landscape of Melbourne, exposing loopholes and grey areas in the planning and building codes which have enabled peculiar domestic mutations to spring up in the city’s suburbs, catering exclusively to the sharing economy. Through an analysis of publically available spatial data, including GIS, architectural drawings, planning documents, and building and planning codes, this paper explores the spatial and ethical implications of this urban phenomenon. Ultimately arguing that the sharing economy may benefit from a spatial response if it presents a spatial problem, this paper proposes that strategic planning could assist in recalibrating and subverting the effects of global disruption in favor of local interests. Such a framework could limit the pernicious effects of Airbnb, while stimulating activity in areas in need of rejuvenation, representing a more nuanced, context-specific approach to policy and governance. View Full-Text
Keywords: Melbourne sharing economy; Melbourne Airbnb; architectural and urban effects of Airbnb; socio-spatial effects of Airbnb; Airbnb and housing typologies; Airbnb and domestic design; Airbnb and planning; Airbnb and policy innovation; Airbnb and governance Melbourne sharing economy; Melbourne Airbnb; architectural and urban effects of Airbnb; socio-spatial effects of Airbnb; Airbnb and housing typologies; Airbnb and domestic design; Airbnb and planning; Airbnb and policy innovation; Airbnb and governance
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Alexander, J. Domesticity On-Demand: The Architectural and Urban Implications of Airbnb in Melbourne, Australia. Urban Sci. 2018, 2, 88.

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