Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Chair/Advisor

Lori Dickes

Committee Member

Dorothy Schmalz

Committee Member

Lauren Duffy

Committee Member

William Haller


Following the economic crash of 2008, the rapid expansion of platform capitalism and the recruitment of others to work for themselves using a company’s platform, has led to a ‘paradigm shift’ in which a sharing economy business model has enabled small entrepreneurial endeavors to become industry giants (Srnricek, 2017). One such platform, Airbnb, has created a new, informal tourism accommodation sector that is bringing with it questions of regulation and community impact. Airbnb regulation thus is a growing national and international trend affecting cities of all sizes and forcing policy response and change at the local government level. Current trends suggest the growth of Airbnb in popular downtown neighborhoods in cities with international tourism appeal is creating new policy questions, gentrification pressures, and overall community impacts that necessitate further study. As policymakers seek to minimize impacts on neighborhood character and housing availability while still harnessing economic activity generated by the platform, the regulatory debate is bringing new challenges as laws designed around traditional tourist accommodations have become outdated and largely do not apply to the short-term rental market enabled by Airbnb. With multiple stakeholders involved, conflicting interests present further challenges to creating policy that best protect the interests of all those involve while safeguarding local communities (Nieuwland & Van Melik, 2018; Park, 2019) making regulation difficult to pass and even more challenging to enforce. As cities struggle to react to the rapid growth of the short-term rental market, this research examines existing policies, policy processes, and perceived community impacts of the short-term rental market in urban communities with high densities of STR units in order to inform local decision-makers and stakeholders in the formation of future policy decisions. Overall, the findings of this research provide a deeper understanding of the policy environment and local community level impacts being experienced in cities where tourism is part of the economic engine. Part one of the study employed a policy scan of fifteen US cities. Findings present five emergent themes found consistently from policies including, Purpose of Regulation, Definitions, Licensing, Registration & Application Requirements, Operational Requirements, and Enforcement. Part two of this study presented a case study of Nashville, TN providing real-life context to the implementation of the policy themes determined in part one. Part two specifically examines stakeholder experiences and perceptions of the policy process, design, and factors leading to the passage and subsequent revisions of short-term rental regulations in the city. The results highlight the many factors impacting cities as they seek to manage the growth of the short-term rental market and the development and implementation of effective policy in the urban environment. The findings of this study also reveal common themes and potential best practices for cities as they try to create stronger communities for their residents and visitors alike.



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