Call for papers on "Digital Platforms and Socio-spatial Justice in the (Post-) Pandemic City”

Hi all, together with a colleague of mine (Filippo Celata, UniRoma1) I’m launching a call for a special issue of the journal Digital Geography and Society on "Digital Platforms and Socio-spatial Justice in the (Post-) Pandemic City”.
Maybe of interest for somebody to contribute?
Do drop me a message if in doubt!

Call for papers

Digital Platforms and Socio-spatial Justice in the (Post-)Pandemic City

Special issue of Digital Geography and Society

Guest editors: Filippo Celata, Università di Roma La Sapienza, and Chiara Certomà, Università di Torino.

Digital platforms are radically changing the way cities are shaped, inhabited, practised, imagined and governed. Urban areas are in fact ideal laboratories for experimenting platform-based approaches in a variety of domains: mobility (Uber, Waze), housing (Idealista, Zillow), tourism (Tripadvisor, Airbnb), food services (Yelp, Deliveroo), work (Upwork, MTurk), finance (Robinhood, Kabbage), education (remote learning platforms), urban planning and administration (IdeaScale, FixMyStreet, SafeLane), etc.; not to mention other biggest and more pervasive platforms, such as Amazon, Google, Facebook and social media. Despite their diversity, platforms often adopt similar logics based on a combination of crowdsourcing, datafication, algorithmic management, digital reputation, the exploitation of free or affective labour, network effects and surveillance (Srnicek, 2017; Van Dijck et al., 2018; Zuboff, 2019): a predatory and disruptive business model that extracts value from users (Mezzadra and Neilson, 2017) and their online/offline interactions, distributing such value unevenly among individuals, social groups, cities and different parts of a single city (Celata, Capineri and Romano, 2020).

The Covid-19 pandemic has temporarily paused some of those processes, ­ e.g. in the domains of mobility and tourism, ­ but it is heightening our addiction to digital services and shifting the threshold between what can be done online and offline in favour of the former, with consequences that scholars, observers and cities have only begun to explore (Certomà, 2020).

The Special Issue wishes to contribute to the burgeoning literature on the new urban geographies produced through and by the digital (Ash et al., 2018), focusing on how platforms reproduce or alter socio-spatial hierarchies and inequalities, and entangle categories of identity, race, gender, class, and location, particularly in light of the consequences of the Covid-19 and the changing organization of cities and urban life in the (post-)pandemic scenario. The aim is to explore how the ownership, management and use of digital (hard and soft) infrastructures interact with the physical, economic, and social life of the city, and what the outcomes are in terms of distributive and spatial justice.

We encourage the submission of research articles that critically engage with the ‘platformization’ of cites and its socio-spatial implications from a variety of perspectives: from the urban political economy of platform capitalism to cultural and critical enquiries of internet-mediated imaginaries and identities.

We seek papers that address (but are not limited) to the following themes:

· How digital platforms affect intra-urban inequalities, the social stratification of cities and inter-urban disparities (Richardson, 2020);

· How platforms disrupt traditional businesses and their unequal effects across cities and industries;

· How (competing) urban visions and ideologies are mobilized within and behind platforms (Graham et al., 2019);

· How the ‘platformization’ of urban life is entangled with issues of intersectionality and social positionality (Dy et al., 2017).

· How individuals adapt to and resist digital governmentality (Törnberg and Uitermark, 2020) and the biopolitics of platforms (Coleman, 2016);

· How platforms challenge urban politics and sociopolitical practices in the city (Rossi, 2019);

· How the conditions (and struggles) for social and spatial justice change within the platform city (Shaw and Graham, 2017);

· What the actually existing (ethical, cooperative, state-led, etc.) alternatives are to corporate platforms (McLean, 2020);

· How public values are, or should be, imbued within the platforms to guarantee conditions of fairness, democratic control and accountability in the digital economy.

Interested authors can follow this procedure:

  • send an abstract (max 300 words) to Filippo Celata ( and Chiara Certomà ( by December 12th, 2020;
  • wait for approval (via email) and then submit all of the following: (1) the abstract + (2) cover letter + (3) title page in the Digital Geography and Society portal (Editorial Manager®) by December 31st, 2020. To ensure that all manuscripts are correctly identified for inclusion into the special issue, it is important that you select " VSI: Platforms and Justice " when you reach the “Article Type” step in the submission process.;
  • submit the full paper by March 15th, 2021.

Please note:

· Digital Geography and Society is an open-access journal, however Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for all the contributes whose abstract+title page+cover letter is submitted before the 31st December 2020 (even if the full paper is submitted by the March deadline). It is also possible to submit a complete paper by the 31st December 2020 and have the APC waived.

· Accepted paper formats include: research papers, commentaries and debate – see Guide for authors Guide for authors - Digital Geography and Society - ISSN 2666-3783 | by Elsevier


Ash, J., Kitchin, R., and Leszczynski, A. (2018) Digital turn, digital geographies? Progress in Human Geography 42: 25-43.

Celata, F., Capineri C., Romano A. (2020) A room with a (re)view. Short-term rentals, digital reputation and the uneven spatiality of platform-mediated tourism. Geoforum 112: 129-138.

Certomà, C. (2020) Digital social innovation and urban space. A critical geography agenda. Urban Planning 5: 8-19

Colman, F.J. (2016) Digital biopolitics: the image of life . In: Wilmer, S. E. and Zukauskaite, Audrone, (eds.) Resisting biopolitics: philosophical, political and performative strategies . Routledge.

Dy, A. M., Marlow, S., and Martin, L. (2017) A web of opportunity or the same old story? Women digital entrepreneurs and intersectionality theory. Human Relations 70: 286-311.

Graham, M., Kitchin, R., Mattern S., and Shaw, J (2019) How To Run a City Like Amazon and Other Fables . Meatspace Press.

Mezzadra, S., and Neilson, B. (2017) On the multiple frontiers of extraction: excavating contemporary capitalism. Cultural Studies 31: 185-204.

McLean, J. (2020) Changing digital geographies: technologies, environments and people . Palgrave MacMillan.

Rossi, U. (2019) The common-seekers: Capturing and reclaiming value in the platform metropolis. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space 37: 1418-1433.

Richardson, L. (2020) Coordinating the city: platforms as flexible spatial arrangements. Urban Geography 41: 458-461

Shaw, J., and Graham, M. (2017) An informational right to the city? Code, content, control, and the urbanization of information. Antipode 49: 907-927.

Srnicek, N. (2017) Platform capitalism . Polity Press.

Törnberg, P., and Uitermark, J. (2020) Complex control and the governmentality of digital platforms. Frontiers in Sustainable Cities 2: 6.

Van Dijck, J., Poell and De Waal, M. (2018) The platform society: Public values in a connective world . Oxford University Press.

Zuboff, S. (2018) The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power . Public Affairs.