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Reverse Technology Assessment in the Age of the Platform Economy

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The rise of what is often referred to as the sharing economy is among the most daring challenges for cities around the world. Sharing platforms create opportunities for efficient market exchange, but also cause negative externalities for city dwellers. A challenge for city authorities is that platforms can be launched without ex ante assessment of externalities and public interests, leaving public debate and political deliberation ex post affairs. We call the platform innovation logic 'reverse technology assessment', which obstructs participatory planning and constructive technology assessment. We discuss the potential of an alternative policy framework known as 'right to challenge'. We end with a broader reflection on public policy regarding sharing platforms at different scalar levels, emphasizing local initiatives to develop alternative sharing platforms.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2020

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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