Platform mobilities and the production of urban space: Toward a typology of platformization trajectories

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The past decade has seen an explosion in what is popularly known as the “sharing economy,” perhaps most visibly in the realm of transport. Digital “shared mobility” platforms like Uber, Car2Go, and Mobike, as well as emerging, more sophisticated “mobility-as-a-service” platforms which coordinate multiple discrete services into a single portal, have risen to prominence as modes of reworking everyday urban transport in cities of North America, Europe, and East Asia in particular. This paper aims to explore the driving forces and concrete expressions of this platformization of urban mobility, as a particularly diverse and volatile component of a broader platform urbanism. Based on the construction and analysis of a database consisting of 200 urban mobility platforms drawn from across the globe, we highlight five key trajectories of platform formation, focusing on the firms, institutions, and social interests that have fueled the growth of this sector, and the modes of infrastructural organization, spatial formation, and governance that they entail. We further highlight the fragility of this particular form of “spatial fix,” and the prospects for a more redistributive form of platform urbanism. We conclude by reflecting on implications for future research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironment & Planning A
Early online date14 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • mobility
  • infrastructure
  • platform capitalism
  • urbanization
  • venture capital


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