Airbnb and the tale of many cities

An investigative report of Airbnb's constant battle against city governments across the world.

Why this project ?

Airbnb a Silicon Valley company popularized the concept of sharing one's home with travellers from around the world and help hosts earn some additional income. Over the years, the company has turned into a 30 billion dollars behemoth operating in most countries across the world. However as the company grew, it has attracted quite a few commercial operators exploiting its platform for personal business interests. While the increased number of listings certainly isn't a bad thing for company itself, but it has had serious impact on the availablity of affordable housing, gentrification of neighbourhoods, violation of housing laws, city residents seeing their beloved communities turn into temporary hotels. The hotel industry, affordable housing community along with enraged city residents have mounted relentless pressure on city governments to put restrictions on Airbnb's ever expanding listings. Over the years, this has resulted in Airbnb constanly being engaged in facing lawsuits, growing restrictions on how to operate in various cities and reaching agreements with city governments.

This report investigatives the constant battle of Airbnb against the city governments across the world. We explore What is Airbnb ? What makes it so popular ? Who are the players in this battle against the company ? What has Airbnb done to counter these issues ? And finally look at how this battle may continue in the years ahead.

Data-set used in project

The data for this research article was obtained from Inside Airbnb an independent, non-commercial set of tools and data that allows to explore how Airbnb is being used in cities around the world.


Key observations from data

  • It is interesting to see the spread of listings in various cities. In most cities, the centres are most densely packed while in cities like Paris and Copenhagen, listings are spread uniformly across the city. And in NYC and Los Angeles, there seem to be multiple clusters of listings spread throughout the city.
  • Airbnb offers wide range of listings and in most cities, Airbnb is a lot cheaper than hotels. This is especially true for all the major tourist attractions in Europe. Airbnb listings in major cities of US are a lot expensive compared to European cities.
  • Airbnb is most definitely being exploited by commercial operators in cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Venice and Mallorca.
  • Removing illegal listings does not appear to deter the commercial operators, in most cases the number of listings will increase within short span of time.


Airbnb logo: Trademark of Airbnb, Inc

Icons from Noun Project

  • Traveler by Adrien Coquet from the Noun Project
  • Man by AnsteyDesign from the Noun Project
  • Barcelona Skyline by Alvaro Molero from the Noun Project
  • Paris City by Hawraa Alsalman from the Noun Project
  • New York by Raf Verbraeken from the Noun Project
  • Business Man by Shocho from the Noun Project
  • Hotel by Nikita Kozin from the Noun Project
  • affordable housing by Eucalyp from the Noun Project
  • neighborhood by priyanka from the Noun Project
  • Town Hall by Anuar Zhumaev from the Noun Project
  • London city by Abdo from the Noun Project