Platform Economies & Urban Geography @University of Bologna

My research stay in Italy unfolded in a different way than anticipated due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Consequently, the seminars that had I planned to give at the University of Bologna in class have been moved online. They have also taken a different direction in terms of topic given the tremendous impact the mobility restrictions have had on tourism in the last month.  On 8 April, I delivered webinar in the ‘Urban Geography‘ course at the University of Bologna. The course “provides a theoretical introduction to socio-historical research in the field of urban geography, with a specific focus on European cities”. My talk centered on the emergence of the “platform economy” and the role that various tourism-related platforms  have in shaping and making urban space today. Although I discussed a variety of platforms, I used Airbnb as a case study and more generally spoke about the impact that tourism (as a social practice and industry) has had on cities in the last decades. Given the changes brought about by COVID-19, I am keeping a close eye on the developments re: Airbnb and will follow up with a post on this specific topic soon. Thank you Matteo Proto for inviting me to give a webinar and thanks to the students for their wonderful engagement! Hope to see you in class again soon….until then, take care and stay safe.