Urban Platforms and the Future City : Transformations in Infrastructure, Governance, Knowledge and Everyday Life book cover
1st Edition

Urban Platforms and the Future City
Transformations in Infrastructure, Governance, Knowledge and Everyday Life

ISBN 9780367334192
Published December 1, 2020 by Routledge
292 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This title takes the broadest possible scope to interrogate the emergence of “platform urbanism”, examining how it transforms urban infrastructure, governance, knowledge production, and everyday life, and brings together leading scholars and early-career researchers from across five continents and multiple disciplines.

The volume advances theoretical debates at the leading edge of the intersection between urbanism, governance, and the digital economy, by drawing on a range of empirically detailed cases from which to theorize the multiplicity of forms that platform urbanism takes. It draws international comparisons between urban platforms across sites, with attention to the leading edges of theory and practice and explores the potential for a renewal of civic life, engagement, and participatory governance through “platform cooperativism” and related movements. A breadth of tangible and diverse examples of platform urbanism provides critical insights to scholars examining the interface of digital technologies and urban infrastructure, urban governance, urban knowledge production, and everyday urban life.

The book will be invaluable on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, as well as for academics and researchers in these fields, including anthropology, geography, innovation studies, politics, public policy, science and technology studies, sociology, sustainable development, urban planning, and urban studies. It will also appeal to an engaged, academia-adjacent readership, including city and regional planners, policymakers, and third-sector researchers in the realms of citizen engagement, industrial strategy, regeneration, sustainable development, and transport.

Table of Contents

1.      Introduction

Mike Hodson, Julia Kasmire, Andrew McMeekin, John G. Stehlin and Kevin Ward

Part 1: What kind of urban infrastructure are platforms?

2.      The urban stack: A topology for urban data infrastructures

Aaron Shapiro

3.      Political ecologies of platform urbanism: Digital labour and data infrastructures

Dillon Mahmoudi, Anthony M. Levenda and John G. Stehlin

4.      Unicorns, platforms, and global cities: The economic geography of ride-hailing

Shauna Brail

5.      Digital infrastructures, services, and spaces: The geography of platform urbanism

Alan Wiig and Michele Masucci

Part 2: Do platforms represent a new model of urban governance?

6.      Joining the dots: Platform intermediation and the recombinatory governance of Uber’s ecosystem

Sarah Barns

7.      A new institution on the block: On platform urbanism and Airbnb citizenship

Niels van Doorn

8.      Political struggles in the platform economy: Understanding platform legitimation tactics

Luke Yates

9.      Analysing urban platforms and inequality through a ‘platform justice’ lens

Richard Heeks & Satyarupa Shekhar

Part 3: What kinds of urban knowledge are generated, legitimized, and valued through platforms?

10.  When data is capital: Datafication, accumulation, extraction

Jathan Sadowski

11.  Platform urbanism and knowledge-power

Maroš Krivý

12.  Wiki-urbanism: Curating a slum resettlement colony with open knowledge platforms

Padmini Ray Murray and Ayona Datta 

13.  From panopticons to the partial: blockchain mapping in platform urbanism  

Clancy Wilmott

Part 4: How are platforms re-shaping everyday urban experiences?

14.  Platform phenomenologies: Social media as experiential infrastructures of urban public life

Scott Rodgers and Susan Moore

15.  Urban consumption, markets and platforms as flexible spatial arrangements

Lizzie Richardson

16.  Between algorithms and the streets: The everyday politics of ride-hailing taxis in India

Anurag Mazumdar

17.  Platforms in the making: hacking the urban environment in Brazilian cities

Andrés Luque-Ayala, Tharsila Maynardes Dallabona Fariniuk, Rodrigo José Firmino, Gilberto Vieira and Juliana Marques

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Mike Hodson is senior research fellow in the Sustainable Consumption Institute, Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester and a member of the Manchester Urban Institute, UK.

Julia Kasmire researches and teaches on how to use new forms of data for social scientists with the UK Data Service and the Cathie Marsh Institute at the University of Manchester, UK.

Andrew McMeekin is Professor of Innovation at the Alliance Manchester Business School and the Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI), UK.  

John G. Stehlin is Assistant Professor in the department of Geography, Environment, and Sustainability at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA. 

Kevin Ward is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Director of the Manchester Urban Institute at the University of Manchester, UK.


"As digital platforms exert ever more influence on how cities run, function, and what it means to live in them, they increasingly reconfigure urban environments in their own image. Urban Platforms and the Future City is an essential field guide for navigating this brave new world, tracing the contours of platform-mediated cities in the making – and identifying opportunities for shaping what platformized urban futures will look like."

Agnieszka Leszczynski, Western University, Canada

“Digital platforms are reconfiguring everyday geographies and the production of urban space. This book charts the nature and operations of urban platform and their relationship with urban infrastructure, governance, knowledge production, and experiences. Rich in conceptual insight and empirical examples it is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding contemporary urbanism.”

Rob Kitchin, Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute, Ireland