Sharing is not as easy as it sounds.
Pam Marino here. When the very funny HBO sitcom Silicon Valley launched in 2014, I lived in Cupertino, right in the middle of it all. I laughed at the ridiculous idiosyncrasies of a world that I wasn’t directly a part of, but that I saw regularly.
The running gag of the show was that all these tech companies kept saying that the goal was to “make the world a better place.” In the first season, the show visited the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, named after another term valley guys like to use. (For a hilarious takeoff from Disrupt, watch a clip from the show on YouTube.)
“Disrupt” is an apt term for what Airbnb has done to the hospitality industry and Uber has done to taxis.. The idea of sharing what people already have, houses and cars – and now even swimming pools – has exploded over the past decade and has indeed disrupted the economy. It has also disrupted communities, especially when it comes to short-term rentals.
In 2013, the core of an idea that blossomed in sharing his makeshift camping site was born. Alyssa Ravasio, according to Hipcamp business tradition, was camping at Andrew Molera State Park on New Years Day when she came up with the concept. Ravasio mainly focused on providing up-to-date information on campgrounds when she started. But by the time Hipcamp became popular, it was a full-fledged reservation service for all types of campgrounds, from the California state park system to private owners looking to open their land.
About 20 miles north of Andrew MoleraMichael Selig, a resident of Palo Colorado Canyon, which has a beautiful 180-acre ridge-top land, decided to join us.
Almost all night, the inhabitants of the canyon were directly disturbed by the fact that dozens of people showed up in the quiet, wooded area, mainly on weekends, but also a few on weekdays. I share more details in the story I wrote for this week’s print edition of Weekly.
With sunsets like this, it’s no wonder that Michael Selig’s Hipcamp, called “The Unspeakable”, has become such a popular spot. Photo courtesy of Michael Selig.
Selig thinks he did nothing wrong. He says he was only trying to share his land with the less fortunate, who can’t afford a hotel room or who want their children to experience the wonders of nature. (He has received criticism for charging $ 120 a night to “needy” campers.)
The neighbors thought otherwise. Scott Bogen, who lives below Selig and has been friends with him for 20 years, moved to Palo Colorado for peace and privacy. He thinks Selig shouldn’t be able to make money at the expense of others. Selig retorts that the neighbors are “elitist”.
County officials, citing a lack of required permits, finally shut down Selig on May 10. He says he will not go through the regulatory process to reopen.
I requested a declaration from Hipcamp, who came after Weekly print deadline. The company’s head of government and community relations, Mason Smith, said the response to Hipcamp “across the country has been overwhelmingly positive, and cases like [Selig’s] are rare. Because Hipcamp offers economic and ecological benefits at the community level, we find that hosts, their neighbors and decision-makers are very welcoming.
Hipcamp hosts are generally rooted in the community, having lived there for an average of 19 years, says Smith. They reinvest their income in the land. “In this way, outdoor overnight stays through Hipcamp serve the dual purpose of funding land stewardship while providing affordable opportunities for first-time campers to go out.”
I am skeptical that so many neighbors and policymakers welcome. Go to any city council or board that meets in the country and you will see the difficulties that follow whenever the topic is brought up to add more humans to a space that did not exist. not before. Communities must figure out how to ensure the safety and health of people, wildlife and the land itself, while balancing the need to provide recreation and commerce.
In other words, sharing is not as easy as it seems.. And to make the world a better place, we must at least try to not to be at the expense of others, or at least find some kind of balance once everyone has had a chance to step in.
-Pam Marino, editor-in-chief, firstname.lastname@example.org