In just 10 years, Airbnb has totally transformed the travel and lodging industry by expanding the “ Economy” to our most private realm: our homes. Before Airbnb, the thought that you would pay to sleep in a stranger’s guest room (let alone their treehouse)—or allow a stranger to sleep in your house for $80—was kind of insane. However, to say we’ve been won over by the concept would be a vast understatement. The San Francisco-based company, now valued at $38 billion, has just announced its newest initiative: A foray into design, construction, and real estate called Backyard.
According to co-founder Joe Gebbia, Backyard will aim to “prototype new ways that homes can be designed, built, and d.” Airbnb doesn’t just want to be the website that connects travelers and homeowners all over the world, it wants to produce homes that will be optimized for renting out and sharing.
The details about what these homes will look like are still pretty vague, but we do know they will be adaptable, technology-forward structures (there are roboticists involved) built in an eco-conscious fashion.
“The way buildings are made is outdated and generates a tremendous amount of waste,” Gebbia says in the press release announcing Backyard. “In order to meet the demands of the future, whether it be climate displacement or rural-urban migration, the home needs to evolve, to think forward.”
The first wave of prototype buildings are set to be released in 2019, so we’ll know more about what specific products will fall under Backyard then—including whether they’re prefabricated buildings meant for your literal backyard, multi-unit complexes, or even manufacturing materials (all potential ideas hinted at in an interview Gebbia did with Fast Company).
Airbnb’s impact is huge: Even the rental companies and properties not associated with it have responded to the start-up’s success, so it’s safe to assume the same will be true of this newest branch of the company. Backyard likely won’t become the world’s biggest construction or real estate company—but if it’s successful enough to disrupt those mega industries for the better, then it’ll surely be seen as a success.
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