Cities and Mobilities Seminar Series #3 Cities, Tourism & AirBnB

When: 13.45 -17.00, 15 December, 2017

Where: Roeterseiland Campus, Building J/K, room B.25

In the third seminar of the Cities & Mobilities Seminar Series, we’ll focus on the impact of tourist mobilities on cities and will pay particular attention to AirBnB. Guest speaker Jennie Germann Molz (Associate Professor of Sociology at the College of Holy Cross, Massachusetts) will provide a talk on:

 “Sharing the City: Tourism Mobilities, Network Hospitality, and the Politics of Scale”

As tourists increasingly turn to peer-to-peer hospitality networks such as Airbnb to arrange homestays in urban destinations, they unlock experiences of the city that span the private enclaves of hosts’ homes and the public spaces of the city. For better or for worse, these platforms are disrupting urban transportation and hospitality industries, with critical repercussions for local economies, for urban planning and housing policy, for permanent residents who inhabit the city, and for the temporary visitors who come and go. In this talk, I will review current and recent research on Airbnb in urban settings to explore the implications of network hospitality for urban transformation across the scales of private and public spaces.

Jennie Germann Molz

Jennie Germann Molz is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the College of Holy Cross, Massachusetts. Her research interests include tourism mobilities and mobile technologies; hospitality and the ethics of welcoming strangers; global citizenship, home, and belonging; food, consumption, and identity; and mobile methodologies. She is co-editor of the journal Hospitality & Society. Her publications include Travel Connections: Technology, Tourism and Togetherness in a Mobile World (Routledge) and Disruptive Tourism and its Untidy Guests: Alternative Ontologies for Future Hospitalities (Palgrave Macmillan). She is currently researching families who take their children out of school and ‘roadschool’ them while traveling the world.

Programme

13.45 – 13.50    Opening by Anna Nikolaeva (CUS, organizer of the seminar series)

14.10 – 15.10    Presentations

AirBnB as a Platform for Gentrification: Comparing Cultural and Economic Impacts of AirBnB in New York, Barcelona and Amsterdam by Letizia Chiappini and Petter Törnberg (CUS & UvA)

Inconsistent habitus? Paradoxical experiences of mobility of aging gentrifiers in the Amsterdam Canal Belt by Willem Boterman & Fenne Pinkster (CUS/UvA)

15.10-15.30      Coffee break

15.30-17.00     Sharing the City: Tourism Mobilities, Network Hospitality, and the Politics of Scale, by Jennie Germann Molz

Comments and discussion. Discussant tbs

17.00               Reception

Seminar is free and open to anyone. Please let us know if you are coming by sending an e-mail to Iris van der Doelen: I.vanderDoelen@uva.nl

 

Presentations

AirBnB as a Platform for Gentrification: Comparing Cultural and Economic Impacts of AirBnB in New York, Barcelona and Amsterdam

 Letizia Chiappini and Petter Törnberg (CUS & UvA)

 This paper uses AirBnB data on New York, Barcelona and Amsterdam to show that the platform functions as a watershed that channels flows of temporary visitors into deprived ethnical minority neighborhoods, thereby reinforcing existing urban displacement processes and functioning as a powerful driver for entangled touristification and gentrification. Departing from an urban studies perspective, we take a pluralist approach — combining computational, statistical and qualitative analysis, as well as ethnical categorization of host’s and guest’s photographs — to look at (i) how the ethnic distribution of visitors and hosts compares to the existing distributions of neighborhoods, (ii) the economics gain of AirBnB as a function of ethnicity, and (iii) the way that hosts discursively characterize their apartments and neighborhoods.

We find that (i) temporary visitors, who tend to be less enmeshed in the local cultural context, function as a unknowing vanguard in a gentrification process driven by predominantly white developers. Whites are overrepresented as hosts, as they are more likely to have adequate economic and cultural capital to invest in housing and present it in a way attractive to the target audience. (ii) This effectively results in the extraction of resources from deprived neighborhoods, whose residents see displacement, increased rents, and housing precariatization. To attract guests, (iii) hosts employ the cultural logic of gentrification — images of street-art and flea-markets, words like “up-and-coming” and “second hand”. This implies that AirBnB functions as a platform for spatial and cultural appropriation of milieux, operating through and reinforcing existing inequalities through extraction of resources from deprived ethnical minority neighborhoods to the benefit of predominately white hosts and guests.

 

Inconsistent habitus? Paradoxical experiences of mobility of aging gentrifiers in the Amsterdam Canal Belt

Willem Boterman and Fenne Pinkster (UvA/CUS)

Once pioneer gentrifiers, many long term residents of Amsterdam’s historical canal belt now belong the established middle class. In fact, the inhabitants of the Canal Belt have become a metaphor for talking about the Dutch cultural elite: privileged, liberal, and cosmopolitan. These long term residents, while privileged in many respects, increasingly experience a sense of powerlessness and view the transformation of their residential environment negatively. The rapid growth of visitors, whether from abroad or domestic , has led to feelings of estrangement, frustration and non-belonging. To cope with pressures arising from tourism, residents have developed several strategies  and tactics that often entail (in)frequent forms of mobility, including travel abroad. Many middle class subjects are highly mobile and have cosmopolitan and international perspective and life style. The inhabitants of the Canal Belt extensively for instance refer to their own experiences as tourist in other cities, while assessing the effects of tourism in their own area. In response to the challenges rapid growth of tourism poses to them, they often develop strategies based on mobility themselves. This paper therefore centrefolds the experiences and practices of these middle class residents to explore the some interesting paradoxes that are rooted in middle class habitus.

 

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