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Airbnb rolling out the Shared City program in Portland, USA

Airbnb, a popular peer-to-peer rental service, is launching a new ambitious initiative “Shared City” designed to promote the sharing economy ideas and help hosts feel more relaxed about tax issues. The first city to host it will be Portland, Oregon, USA. To encourage more people to participate in the home-sharing program as hosts, the company declares it is going to settle all the legal issues, which might scare away a number of potential hosts.

“We’re offering to cut red tape and to collect and remit taxes to the city of Portland on behalf of our hosts. This is new for us, and if it works well for our community and cities, we may replicate this project in other U.S. cities,” shared Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky in the post on Meduim.

The initiative is also launched to inspire a positive shift in the community life by creating shareable, genuinely more comfortable and livable cities, supporting micro-entrepreneurs with relevant initiatives to make the municipal areas a brighter spot. As part of this initiative and the company’s commitment to make the service as transparent as possible, the Airbnb team will try to rule corporate property managers out of the platform.

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Pic.: Travel Portland’s “Portland is Happening Now” effort

The ideas for Shared Portland include a charitable scheme that allows hosts to donate profits they get from Airbnb to some local causes. The service also commits to match the donations with some percentage of the money they make. Plus, Airbnb is installing free smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the houses of Portland and other cities that are rented through the service to help make these spaces a safer place to live, and it’s also partnering with Portland’s Bureau of Emergency Management to launch training programs to teach hosts how to respond to crisis.

Airbnb will also collaborate with Travel Portland to roll out a series of joint campaigns to “promote the city as a destination to our global community, highlighting its unique characteristics and diverse neighborhoods; and sending visitors to local small businesses throughout the city,” adds Brian Chesky.

Portland was chosen as the first city of the program because it has a long-standing tradition of supporting innovative ideas, green tech, co-working spaces, and smart use of resources. Residents of the cities that are already shared (at the moment, Portland is the only one on the list) can write to brian.chesky@airbnb.com, sharing their thought on how to improve the experience.

Leaders of other cities’ community organization are invited to join the program, they can send an e-mail with their ideas to sharemycity@airbnb.com.

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