Platform Cities & City Platforms

Ordering rides using Uber, or renting a room through Airbnb: in 2050 this will all be peanuts, says Michel Erler. Cities will be completely packed with smart services. Citizens will be empowered as they will control the software.


The project proposes two different takes on the post-fossil city. The first scenario features a set of fictional companies, who compete over a newly planned city quarter. Including its power infrastructure: smart grids, solar panels and charging stations for autonomous vehicles. The companies function as platforms, which bring together consumers, advertisers, service providers, producers, suppliers and physical objects. By providing a convenient all-round solution, the companies try to convince customers to close a subscription with them. The battle about dominance might also lead to companies developing their own closed infrastructure systems, which makes it then harder to switch to another provider for customers. The infrastructure system is not outsourced entirely in the second scenario, but most of it is publicly owned and thus not subject to business strategies from private developers. The city subsidizes solar panels and battery packs, reinvests in an algorithmically driven transport system and transforms former car parks into community spaces. Several services such as Uber are banned, because they did not make their location accessible for the public transport agency to incorporate it into the transport system.

Michel Erler

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