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Platform Urbanisation and the Spatio-Material Implications of Digital Innovation

Authors: Andrew Karvonen*, Royal Institute of Technology
Topics: Urban Geography, Cyberinfrastructure
Keywords: Platform urbanisation, digitalisation, sociotechnical, cities
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Platforms are an increasingly important driver of urban change and a prominent example of the digitalisation of society. Platform urbanisation involves processes of developing and applying ICT to disrupt and replace existing urban services such as transportation, housing, food, and communication while also creating new services for urban residents. Platforms leverage new modes of digital interactivity that cannot be achieved with analogue tools and strategies. However, platforms are also inherently spatial and material achievements that reshape the built environment in fundamental ways. In this presentation, I focus on the spatio-material characteristics of platforms to understand their influence on broader processes of urbanisation. Using insights from the sociotechnical study of urban infrastructure, I focus on an innovation district in Stockholm, the Urban ICT Arena, and how digital tools are being integrated into an existing built environment. Such a grounded perspective on platforms provides new insights on how they influence the existing dynamics of urban development. It suggests that platformisation enhances rather than replaces other modes of urban change through the reconfiguration of sociotechnical relations that are simultaneously mundane and profound.

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