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Airbnb and the so-called sharing economy is hollowing out our cities

The banner hung from a third-floor balcony, unfurling itself almost all the way down to the cobbles of the square. Barcelona no està en venda, it read, in large hand-painted letters: the city is not for sale. It wasn’t the first such slogan we’d seen in only an hour or so strolling around the narrow, winding streets of Barcelona’s beautiful old quarter last week, and naturally our curiosity was piqued. Something to do with gentrification, or developers maybe? Well, partly. But, disconcertingly, it turned out to have quite a lot to do with people like us, and possibly you too.
The Guardian
Gabby Hinsliff

‘Overtourism’ Worries Europe. How Much Did Technology Help Get Us There?

Over the summer, my wife and I traveled with our two young kids on a two-week vacation through Europe. It wasn’t as highfalutin as it sounds. In London, our Airbnb had ample skylights — which rendered the place all but uninhabitable during Europe’s heat wave. In Paris, our charming home-share had a cavernous hole in the ceiling of the entryway, revealing load-bearing beams that appeared to have been rotting since Napoleon’s reign. And in Amsterdam, our Airbnb advertised a kids’ bedroom stocked with toys — but failed to mention the mosquitoes and mice. But my tech-abetted trip was illuminating, too, because it provided a firsthand look into a vexing problem that has gripped much of Europe lately — the worry of “overtourism,” and the rising chorus that blames technologies like Airbnb, Uber and other internet-enabled travel conveniences for the menace.
The New York Times
Farhad Manjoo

Lacrosse owners, hit by soaring insurance premiums, take $11m recladding loan

Owners of the 328 apartments in Melbourne's troubled Lacrosse building have taken out an $11 million loan to cover replacing its combustible cladding, nearly four years after the original fire at the residential tower.
Australian Financial Review
Michael Bleby

Paris leads efforts to puncture Airbnb

Paris officials are announcing record fines for serial renters using the service as lawmakers near the adoption of a new law that would make the American company liable for thousands of unregistered listings on its site. The stakes are high: France is the world’s most-visited country, and Paris is reportedly Airbnb’s single-biggest city market worldwide.
Politico
Zachary Young

Human Rights Commission warns on flammable cladding

The use of flammable cladding on Grenfell Tower and other high-rise residential blocks constitutes a breach of the residents’ human rights, according to the Equality & Human Rights Commission, and thus exposes public authorities to prosecution under the Human Rights Act 1998.
The Construction Index

Mornington Peninsula council implements Airbnb, Stayz registration fees and code of conduct for guests

Property owners and holidaymakers in one of Victoria’s most popular destinations face fees and restrictions under new code of conduct laws.
Domain
Melissa Heagney

Sydney unit owners face uncertainty over who will foot $7m bill to remove illegal cladding

Colin Knowles thought he was buying his dream home in Pyrmont in 2000. Little did he know his apartment building was covered in a flammable and dangerous cladding now considered illegal.
Domain
Tawar Razaghi

LU Simon director Jim Moschoyiannis breached building act over Lacrosse cladding

The first legal blow has fallen in Australia's cladding crisis, with a Victorian building regulator finding LU Simon director Jim Moschoyiannis broke the law by putting flammable cladding on Melbourne's Lacrosse building.
Australian Financial Review
Michael Bleby

Cladding is political: Governments will have to pay to replace it, RICS says

Australian governments will have to underwrite or fund the rectification of combustible cladding on residential buildings as an increasing number of apartment owners become unable to do so, one of the UK's top expert advisers on cladding warned on Thursday.
Australian Financial Review
Michael Bleby

Urban Forest Fund helps turn concrete common areas into apartment block oases

A recent study projected daily temperatures in Melbourne would rise 3.8C above existing records by the end of the century, even hitting 50C on some days. But as our cities get hotter, green spaces are increasingly being looked at as a way to cool the concrete jungles. It has even prompted the City of Melbourne to offer predominantly ratepayer-funded grants to owners wanting to green private land.    
ABC News
Nicole Mills

Apartment dogs bring 'No Pets' policy to heel

It's a modern-day love affair, set in the glistening, ultra-chic twin towers of Altair in Sydney's Rushcutters Bay. The pair met four years ago, batting eyes as they passed one another in the lobby of the 20-storey apartment complex. Since then, Mambo and Cherry have been regularly smooching and running around the local park together, while pursuing independent lives two floors apart. Maltese poodles ("moodles") can be like that – wildly affectionate, with an edge of boundary-setting – and besides, Mambo has a busy life as an ambassador for the City of Sydney's Strata Paws workshop, which gives tips on how to provide a better life for pets in apartment blocks. 
Sydney Morning Herald
Greg Callaghan

Building Ministers' Forum Calls for Mandatory Permanent Labelling of Cladding Products

The NSW Government, along with the Commonwealth and other states and territories, has called for mandatory permanent labelling of cladding products, Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said. State and Territory Building Ministers and the Commonwealth supported the move at the Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF), held in Adelaide yesterday. The Ministers agreed to the proposal for Standards Australia to develop a national standard for permanent labelling of aluminium composite cladding products that would then be mandated through the National Construction Code (NCC). Mr Kean said the agreement demonstrated the benefits of a united approach to cladding safety to help deliver the very best outcomes for residents across Australia. “I’m very pleased to have the support of my colleagues for this sensible reform that will help us ensure the right products are being used in the right ways,” Mr Kean said. “This new requirement is just the latest step in a series of ongoing reforms regarding the use of cladding across NSW. “I can assure the community that we will continue to push for effective, nation-wide action to give Australians certainty and security when it comes to the buildings where they live, work and play.”  Commonwealth Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation Craig Laundy commended Minister Kean on the forum’s results. “I congratulate Minister Kean for playing a key role in assisting myself and the other building Ministers in reaching a common sense solution to what is a problem that needs to be solved,” Mr Laundy said. Queensland Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni welcomed the move as a win for cladding safety across the country. “This is a major step in ensuring that buildings with cladding are safe for emergency workers, and a great example of what a bi-partisan approach to a major issue can achieve,” Mr de Brenni said.   More information on the NSW cladding taskforce is available at fair.trading.nsw.gov.au
Press Release
Minister Matt Kean

Fair Trading to ban dangerous aluminium cladding in NSW

The same aluminium cladding that caused the deadly Grenfell Tower fire in London more than a year ago will be banned in NSW as of next Wednesday. It will be an offence to use the building product and corporations could be fined up to $1.1 million and individuals up to $220,000 for its installation. NSW Fair Trading said the ban would also apply retrospectively to buildings where the product was installed before the new rules were announced. Ms Stiles  said the the product ban did not go to the heart of the problem. “Those products were already banned. We don’t know need another ban, we need enforcement of the existing regulation. There’s been substitution and there’s been inadequate supervision,” Ms Stiles said. “The current regime of self-certification is letting down the community. It’s very concerning and the government needs to take action to ensure the community is protected from substituted, non-compliant products.”
Domain
Tawar Razaghi

On The Rise: Residents Outraged As Apartments Become AirBnb's

As Nashville continues to experience unprecedented growth, residents in downtown apartment buildings have started feeling the impact of essentially unchecked numbers of Airbnb units suddenly surrounding them overnight. "We signed on for a residential community, and it is a gross misuse of residential units that are being turned into tourism units," says Sam Forum. "When you put so many Airbnb’s in one concentrated place you are essentially turning it into a frat house," she adds.  
News Channel 5
Chris Conte

Can the design of an apartment affect your mental health?

Researchers from Melbourne and Western Australia have launched a study looking at whether state government design policies for apartments help to improve people’s mental health and wellbeing. The study, Optimising apartment design policy to equitably enhance mental health, a collaboration between RMIT and the University of Western Australia, also aims to influence future apartment design policies introduced or updated by state governments in Australia.
Domain
Melissa Heagney