The Sharing Economy and the Allocation of Urban Space

Zoning and Planning Law Report (2019, Forthcoming)

Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 19-10

21 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2019

See all articles by John Infranca

John Infranca

Suffolk University Law School

Date Written: 2019


This short essay uses four interrelated issues as a framework for examining recent challenges posed by the sharing economy, particularly for urban areas. First, in the realm of short-term rentals there is increasing concern – and a growing set of studies that support it – that as these rentals proliferate across municipalities they are moving existing housing off of the long-term rental market, exacerbating affordability crises in many cities. Second, there is a related concern that short-term rentals are changing the character of existing neighborhoods and undermining the goals of local planning and zoning. Third, in the realm of transportation network companies, a growing body of research links Uber and Lyft to increased traffic congestion in dense urban areas. And fourth, ridesharing services threaten to pull riders away from public transportation, further exacerbating congestion while simultaneously harming cash-strapped transportation systems. The essay considers these challenges in light of the contributions to the recently published Cambridge Handbook of the Law of the Sharing Economy, of which the author is a co-editor, drawing on insights from those contributions and highlighting chapters within the volume of most relevance for zoning and planning law. It then surveys potential responses to these challenges, drawing both on the Handbook and on recent developments in a small number of representative jurisdictions.

Suggested Citation

Infranca, John, The Sharing Economy and the Allocation of Urban Space (2019). Zoning and Planning Law Report (2019, Forthcoming), Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 19-10, Available at SSRN:

John Infranca (Contact Author)

Suffolk University Law School ( email )

120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108-4977
United States

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