The diversity of dwelling types in locations of Airbnb

Authors: Zahratu Shabrina*, University College London, Elsa Arcaute, University College London, Michael Batty, University College London
Topics: Tourism Geography, Quantitative Methods, Urban Geography
Keywords: Airbnb, dwelling types, entropy, location pattern
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Buchanan, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper explores Airbnb and examines the geographical pattern of those establishments that survive using data from London. Our purpose is to analyse whether or not the diversity of dwelling types correlates with the density of listings in each unit area. We use a measure of spatial spread based on entropy to indicate the diversity of dwelling types and associate this diversity with the distribution of Airbnb establishments using the Pearson correlation coefficient. As the entropy values show that dwelling types in London are more homogeneous in the central areas which are dominated by purpose-built blocks flats, and more heterogeneous in the peripheries where there is a greater mix of whole houses and some flats, the results of this analysis indicate that the number of Airbnb listings is negatively associated with higher dwelling type diversity. It might seem counter-intuitive to have lower variation in the city centre, but for the case of dwelling types, central London is dominated by purpose-built flats which cater for the high demand for residential spaces thus creating much higher density dwellings. It is important to note that our study only considers domestic building types, and other purposes such as commercial building types are beyond the scope of the current analysis. In this paper, we thus exclude any information on the diversity of land uses. We conclude by finding that Airbnb in London thrives in areas where there is a high proportion of flats or apartments which constitute a lower diversity in domestic dwelling types.

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