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The Internet Is Pushing People Out Of Small Towns

July 14, 2017

by Tom Vander­bilt : outsideonline – excerpt

Outside Magazine’s Tom Vanderbilt starts his examination of the effect of Airbnb on the small ski towns out west with an anecdote that’s simple enough to understand. Brian Barker lives in Crested Butte, Colorado — a small quaint ski town everyone dreams about. He needs to work three jobs to make ends meet. Now, his landlord wants to kick him out and replace him with a short-term rental. In other words, Airbnb has forced Barker out.

But the deeper Vanderbilt dives into the relationship between small ski towns and short-term rentals, the more convoluted things get. Services like Airbnb help bring in more tourists, sure. But unlike a fancy resort cropping up in an otherwise small town, the rise of the short-term rental has put the tourists at odds with the people who service them.

It’s a bit of a late capitalism Catch-22. Short term rentals are pushing residents out, but residents can’t afford to live in these small towns without the money from short term rental tourists. If only they had a Milo Minderbinder around to figure this all out… (more)

What did we do before Airbnb? I remember staying in hotels and motels when we traveled. We had tourists and visitors back then and affordable housing and jobs. Maye it is time to blow up the disruptive “sharing economy” that swooped in with promises of cheap deals and “smart” products and systems that will make our lives wonderful in 2040. Maybe it is time to say NO to the “deals” and put them out of business so we can go back to our pleasant affordable lives.

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