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LunchUP: Tania Aïda Apedo, "The Rise of Service Platforms in Detroit: A Socio-technical Analysis of Changes in Austerity Urbanism Practices"

LunchUP: Tania Aïda Apedo, "The Rise of Service Platforms in Detroit: A Socio-technical Analysis of Changes in Austerity Urbanism Practices"

Tania Aïda Apedo
PhD Student, Urbanism – University Paris Est

Uber has entered the Detroit market in May 2014. Two years before, Patronicity was created in a local business incubator to develop the first crowdfunding platforms that match public grants. While different in size and value, both companies illustrate the penetration of private actors using platforms as a way to connect individuals together to benefit from a niche service beside other formal channels such as taxis, public transportation for mobility or philanthropy and public funds for under-served urban areas. Through a socio-historical approach I argue that we cannot understand the spread of such for-profit platforms on urban management issues as a threat or a blessing, but instead as a reconfiguration of public action on issues such as mobility or neighborhood development that involved a wide range of stakeholders. Using the theoretical background of austerity urbanism coupled with a sociotechnical approach from STS that insist on the mutual shaping of technology and the social world, the aim of my research is to give a better understanding of the mechanisms at play in austerity context through the territorialization of services platforms. Based on empirical research that analyze regulations, laws, public relations, communication, media and interviews, this presentation addresses the relational landscape behind this phenomena and the role of state (federal state and local governments) that has encouraged but also at times restrained the spread of platform technology on urban issues. We will focus on this decade which witnessed the importance of new arrangements in the network of actors and on how the construction of a collective vision for the future of the city through and beyond the use of this technology has mobilized different representation of social solidarity and political capacity.

These sessions are a response to requests from faculty and students to learn more about what’s going on in the field in an informal environment. We hope this can inspire emergent thoughts and connections that will inform our scholarship. 

Lunch is included, please bring a drink.