I just got back from the APA conference in Seattle where my favorite session was on this topic, hosted by San Francisco city planners. Their challenge was clear: regulating a young but fast-growing industry with no data, few resources, and a high degree of political conflict. While I don’t think the policy in place right now is perfect, it’s encouraging that it’s at least out there, being debated and shaped. Sure – it’s not ideal to create rules while the train is already moving, but it’s better than doing nothing, which is what every other Airbnb city is doing. Outside of SF, high-tech short-term rentals are either legal or they’re banned — or some convoluted mixture of the two. SF is at least trying to create innovative policy to keep up with innovations in the private sector. Though there will be initial missteps and political conflict, it’s at least a start. Now we just need to hope that the ultimate policy will actually be as smart as the technology its trying to regulate, and that other cities start to pay attention.
Check out Dan Raile’s great long-read at PandoDaily: