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).