This week Airbnb – which now styles itself as a “worldwide accommodations leader” with the slogan “Live There” (it used to be “Belong Anywhere”) – revealed a new division called Samara and announced the division’s first project: a communal housing development meant to revitalize a small town in Japan. According to a story in FastCoDesign, “That model isn’t meant to be a one-off. After this project, Airbnb will look to scale it to other declining small towns across the world. The idea is that Airbnb could become a force not only in sharing homes, but in urban planning.”
So far, Airbnb itself has provided almost no details about Samara. The division’s website, which is nested within Airbnb.com, has minimal text — embellished with a few “handwritten” scrawls — and no photographs. This is the entirety of the statement:
(For more on metaphorical “journey,” see my February 2016 Visual Thesaurus column.)
Where does the name Samara come from? The website doesn’t say. So I did some investigating.