A morning roundup of the day’s news.
Rental restrictions: Facing glaring housing shortages, a number of large cities are now more aggressively regulating the operations of Airbnb and other short-term rental operators. This week Paris has required Airbnb hosts in the city center to cap rentals at 120 days per year. Meanwhile, the Seattle city council passed a new tax on short-term rentals, with funds intended to go toward affordable housing, as Vancouver imposes tight rules to prohibit permanent rental properties. The Vancouver Sun reports:
[Mayor Gregor] Robertson said short-term rentals affect the rental housing supply, particularly in cities like Vancouver where there is a rental housing crunch and a near-zero rental vacancy rate.
The new rules “will make sure that almost 80 per cent of those (short-term rentals) currently out there are actually legal rather than illegal, and that (with) the balance we see some return to long-term rentals,” he said. The city estimates about 1,000 units will return to the long-term market.
Preserving historic Philly: As downtown surges with commercial growth, Philadelphia is getting more proactive with defending historic properties from demolition—adding preservation staffers and setting up a new task force with help from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which this year listed the city’s neighborhoods as among its “national treasures.” (New York Times)
- More Philly news: In the third iteration of a tech program already in place in London and New York, the new “LinkPHL” initiative will add 100 kiosks delivering free public WiFi on city streets. (Next City)
Upping Uber’s safety game: A new class-action lawsuit calls for the ride-hailing company to change many of its driver screening and safety protocols on behalf of riders who have been “subject to rape, sexual assault, or gender-motivated violence or harassment by their Uber driver.” (Recode)
AV equity: One point “no one’s even brought up” in discussing the driverless car revolution, Jalopnik writes, is where it leaves lower-income residents who have traditionally relied on affordable used cars. Will these people “be stuck walking or taking the (presumably autonomous) bus”?
Biking ballot wins: Streetsblog rounds up some big wins for bikers and pedestrians in recent ballot measures across U.S. cities, kicked off by Seattle’s $930 million property tax levy in 2015 and continuing last week with the passage of ambitious tax packages in Denver and Travis County, Texas.
The urban lens:
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