Platform geographies: socio-spatial inequalities in increasingly digitally-mediated urban ecosystem

Authors: Antonello Romano*,
Topics: Urban Geography, Quantitative Methods, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: Digital Platforms, Urban Informatics, Big Data, Digital Inequalities
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Hoover, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

A plethora of digital platforms is increasingly and ubiquitously mediating our relationship with space.Among such platforms that make up this emerging digitally-mediated ecosystem there is one that, unlike the others, mainly affects the social and economic sphere of the users and produces alterations in the structure of the physical space in which it operates.This is Airbnb. A perfect synthesis of the economic trends of the last decade, sharing economy and platform capitalism, Airbnb on the one hand encourages users to value totally or partially unused goods, on the other hand it derives its profit from the network-effect and intermediation between participants. While the social, economic, and political consequences are still hard to decipher, its geographical and urban implications are even less explored. Given this context, the primary aim of this research is to provide a solid evidence about the socio-economic effects and spatial implications of so called digitally-mediated infrastructure in Italy.In particular by analyzing 10 years geotagged data from different Italian cities, we present a micro and meso-analysis of the spatio-temporal patterns of the “Airification” process. From a methodological point of view the study follows a mixed-mode approach that combined spatial analysis, text mining and social network analysis. Results shows how and where such platform contributes to amplifies socio-economic inequalities in intra-urban ecosystem.Finally we sum up different level of inequalities that represent future challenges for the governance of space against the emerging algorithmic power of planning. The proposed work represents the general framework within which my current research is inserted

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