Platforms and City Governance

Platforms – such as the so-called “GAFA” pervade and monitor much of our lives. Social relations, information search, travels, all these activities are mediated by platforms which retrieve data and build new services on top of them. Some platforms, such as Google maps or Uber, specifically target activities at the city level, such as mobility. As they do so, they  address issues such as traffic management or sustainable development.

In the work of the Dice team, we analyse the current role of platforms in the governance of cities. As we do so, we identify how platforms challenge existing institutions, for instance because they retrieve data which allow them to precisely know the cities where they operate when such data could be useful to public institutions. As we identify these challenges, we build scenarios about the coexistence of platforms and cities public administration, and identify the opportunities for platform development in the field of city governance.

Our work draws on a collaboration with the Lyon metropole in order to understand their smart city strategy and the possible role of platforms in this strategy. We also cooperate with the School of Information of UC Berkeley on issues of sovereignty and territory at the time of intermediation platforms.

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