Where Vancouver is concerned, Sawatzky says the city is likely to be watching the outcomes of these battles in New York and San Francisco before drafting policy. “It is within [Vancouver’s] jurisdiction to implement policy that will fairly regulate short-term rentals. The city is responsible for housing policies and the field of short-term regulation is actually quite fast-moving.” While Airbnb has recently said they are willing to work with market regulation in places like Vancouver, their battles in San Francisco suggest the company may see regulation in opposition to their profitable business model. Sawatzky says the debates on regulation are heated and that the City of Vancouver is not in an easy position, being called upon to help regulate an emerging online industry that is arguably also bolstering the city’s tourism industry and providing opportunities for financially stretched homeowners to earn extra income.
As public interest in Sawatzky’s research continues, the Urban Studies graduate received two awards in Fall 2016: the Lambda Alpha Vancouver Annual Graduate Award, and the Urban Studies Award for Community Engagement. Sawatzky says she’s committed to continuing to work in an urban-related field. “While I’m trying hard not to stress too much about what will happen after graduation, I am excited to look for work—whether doing research and writing or perhaps teaching—in an urban-related field. Ideally, I’d like to do something that allows me to utilize both sides of my professional skills: the communications and writing side and the research and analytic skills I’ve developed during my masters in Urban Studies.”