News / Architecture

Airbnb plans to build its own houses in a move towards “social responsibility”


Airbnb: Courtesy of Samara

The home-rental platform Airbnb recently announced that it will start designing and building its own houses this coming 2019. The global company has been criticised for its impacts on the affordable housing crisis. As seen in Berlin, where short-term rentals on platforms like Airbnb have even been made illegal.

Airbnb’s experimental product development team Samara will oversee the project titled Backyard. The new housing plans are centred on sustainability with Airbnb’s co-founder Joe Gebbia claiming that “The way buildings are made is outdated and generates a tremendous amount of waste”. Alternatively, these new houses will implement new and smart ways of manufacturing buildings, without, according to Joe, “filling landfills with needless waste”.

The Backyard team have been researching various “eco-friendly” building materials in the lead up to the project. Backyard’s team consists of multi-disciplinary creatives including interaction designers and those working in housing policy. The project comes as part of an initiative to address growing issues of climate change and overpopulation. With 3,300 new homes starting construction every day in the US, according to the U.S Census Bureau, Joe Gebbia goes on to assert that Backyard “goes beyond a business opportunity — it’s a social responsibility.”