OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Short-term rental companies against gentrification.

A social fund to enable residents in gentrifying neighborhoods to participate in the gig economy and provide space during pandemics.

Photo of Jan Schenk
0 0

Written by

The success of short-term rental companies over the last decade has accelerated the gentrification of old neighbourhoods in international tourist destinations. In Bo-Kaap, a densely working-class neighbourhood in Cape Town's city centre, much residential space has been converted to short-term rental place. Municipal rates increased in line with property value, thus making life in Bo-Kaap unaffordable for families who have been in the neighbourhood for generations. Another consequence of this development is that in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, one finds over-crowded houses shared by multiple generations of family members next to empty ones reserved for short-term rental.

The idea presented here addresses both the negative impact of gentrification caused by short term-rental as well as the problem of over-crowding in neighbourhoods similar to Bo-Kaap. This can be achieved by a social fund used for providing low- or zero-interest loans to locals for the specific purpose of extending their homes for short-term rental space that can be easily converted into residential space during winter (off-season and possibly future Covid-19 seasons) and during future epidemics.

In Bo-Kaap, many homes are still one-storey and can be relatively easily turned into double-storey buildings. In other places such extensions might take a different form.

A part of the profit from the Airbnb will be kept by the short-term rental company to pay off the loan, the rest will be paid out to the residents. Once the loan has been paid off, the residents can choose to either continue running the short-term rental or occupy the space themselves. In either scenario they will have more space for self-isolation during future Covid-19 outbreaks or other epidemics.

Residents will be able to create synergies during construction (shared resources) and build income streams around the social income streams (e.g. additional services, experiences).

What is the need are you focusing on?

Creating space for self-isolation in multi-generational households in densely populated neighbourhoods.

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Sharing a pivot idea your organization is considering or could consider

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

We are proposing a social fund used for providing low- or zero-interest loans to locals in gentrifying neighbourhoods for the specific purpose of extending their homes for short-term rental space that can be easily converted into residential space during winter (off-season and possibly future Covid-19 seasons) and during future epidemics. Loans will be repayable through profit generated by short-term rental. This will require the buy-in from short-term rental companies who see the value and sustainability in growing local customers and economies. We would first conduct a feasibility study and establish contacts with relevant stokeholds to gauge the appetite for such an intervention. If it gets implemented, we can provide the project management, stakeholder relations and community engagement. Given our core business background we would be able to implement strict M&E protocols to keep track of the project's impact.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Maybe-with additional support

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

This project can be scaled up to any tourist destination with suitable contexts (i.e. gentrifying neighbourhoods with buildings ready for extension). Depending on scale, a few households in one neighbourhood or thousands of households in many neighbourhoods could benefit from this. It would support local economies, help preserve traditional communities, create jobs and create space necessary for self-isolation in vulnerable communities during this or future pandemics. The timeline would be determined by the level of cooperation of local stakeholders and short-term rental platforms. It would take about a year to set up.

What is the name of your business or organization?

ikapadata (Pty) Ltd

What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

We are a social research company based in Cape Town, South Africa. We provide research services, often large-scale complex data collection such as household surveys, learner assessments or site audits, to clients in the public, academic, intergovernmental and NGO sectors.

What is your profession?

I am a trained sociologist (PhD) and the founder and director of ikapadata.

Where are you located (country)?

South Africa

Where are you located (region)?

  • Southern Africa

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Academia/Research
  • Entrepreneur/Investor
  • Technology

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 11-49

How old is your business/company?

  • 5-10 years old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Social Enterprise

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants
  • Funding- Loans
  • Funding- Investment
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Government
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Civil Society Groups
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Grassroots/Community Groups

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • Yes

If Yes to the above, please share 1-2 sentences describing the specific help you desire.

This initiative will only be possible with the full support of the affected communities. Short-term rental providers will need to come on board.

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

Lack of buy-in from local communities. At the moment, short-term rental companies are seen by many in these communities as the enemy, not as a partner.

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?


Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?


Website URL


Join the conversation: