"A raised level surface": The promise and perils of platforms

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Digital Geographies Specialty Group, Urban Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/10/2020
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Gold, Sheraton, IM Pei Tower, Majestic Level
Organizers: Peter Dunn
Chairs: Peter Dunn


As geographers have turned to the myriad ways in which spaces are produced with and through digital technologies, the notion of the platform has emerged as a key theoretical lens. While the word suggests a "raised level surface" equally accessible to all (Gillespie, 2010), the contemporary experience of platforms shows them to be anything but neutral.

This session brings together papers dealing in various ways with platforms and their political and economic entanglements with property markets, "smart city" rhetoric, ride-hailing, and mobility data. In challenging the simple egalitarian promises of such systems, this work reveals more complex pictures of exclusion and dispossession that platforms can facilitate.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Christina Frendo*, Queen's University, Betsy Donald, Queen's University, The impossibility of evidence-based public policy in an era of private platform capitalism 15 11:10 AM
Presenter Peter Dunn*, University of Washington, Can platform urbanism be agonistic? The case of mobility data specifications 15 11:25 AM
Presenter Sean Grisdale*, University of Toronto, Toronto the Smart? Situating Sidewalk Labs in a genealogy of the "smart city" 15 11:40 AM
Presenter Ian Spangler*, UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY, Proptech imperialism and platform real estate: the case of Vieques, Puerto Rico 15 11:55 AM
Presenter Michael McCanless*, University of Kentucky, Platform Finance: Upstart and the Securitized Futures of Debt beyond Credit 15 12:10 PM

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