SHARINGACTION2019 Thematic panel “Sharing Cities: Platform Labour in Urban Spaces” 2019/11/20/apunts/01
Thematic panel “Sharing Cities: Platform Labour in Urban Spaces”
Sharing Cities Action Encounter Barcelona - 19-21 November 2019
Collaborative notes at Teixidora.net, documentation to share and reuse.
Good morning everyone, welcome to the Sharing Cities said and inclusive Cities session I am Mayo Fuster I am the director of Dimmons a research group at the Open University of Catalonia and I am also promoting in a joint action with the Barcelona City Council an Action Programme. Last year, we celebrated here a summit between between 50 cities and on this base we are congregated today to debate about how to promote policies on the on the impact of digital platforms. The session is going to be around seven cities digital platforms and collaborative platforms which are disrupting the cities. They refer to a mode of production that is growing exponentially as consumption and production are changing supported by a digital platform that the disappearing in many different ways. On the one hand, we have platforms like Airbnb, Uber or Deliveroo and very different kind of a mix of economical activity having disruption in the cities and in some cases also are putting in tension between existing labor rights or rights like access to the housing and sickness have something to do with it have an in front of challenges and opportunities. Opportunities also that came from digital that align more with city interests, the case like Wikipedia or goteo which is a crowdfunding platform or Som Mobilitat. A cooperative platform is model around mobility so we are going to discuss today about how far these digital platforms bring opportunities for the democratization of the production and around how cities are reacting to those. Last year in a set of 42 cities agreed on the principles and commitments of the sharing city declaration, together here,. They meet together again this year in order to present the work that has been doing over the year and also to push forward more action between them for the realization of the principles of the Declaration the declaration establish a set of principles the first one has todo with the importance of differentiation between platforms.
The importance of keeping labor rights and assuring that in the transition from the factory to be the main space of production into the digital platforms as them as they central ambit of production in this century that in this transition we don't lose labor rights but they adapt to the new modalities. Other principle is the question of inclusivity and gender very central into the digital sphere in order to assure inclusivity by social background functionality and gender the principle of public protection the sustainability as a key pillar in this transition assuring the digital platform also favored a type of circular economy and a type of reduction of environmental impact in the city also preservation of the data sovereignty and the citizens digital rights digital prefers happen in the digital environment. In this sense it's important that also cities preserve a set of democratic principles. The eighth principle refer to cities of modernity as a central question of how far cities can maintain a sovereignty over the territory in front of the disruptive impact of this large corporation and particularly when they don't respect local policies again not only referring to challenges but also opportunity. The other principle refers to the economic promotion and they bring forward a policies that favor the scalability of the models that align with city's objectives and interest. The last principle referring to the general interest like referring to pressure but the transition from the fabric to the digital platforms is done in a way that preserve and human rights preserve the right to the city and in general by general interest over the cities. As I say the first principle has to do with the differentiation between models.
In this regard last year, we developed a star of democratic qualities preferring to which are the type of qualities that help us to differentiate between platforms and allow the cities to actually adapt their policy reactions depending
on the topology of platform and also a support they being able to differentiate them and support the platforms that are more democratic and align more with the city's interests in this regard applying this framework of democratic qualities of digital platforms we have three main dimensions which allow us to differentiate those between models
The first dimension have to do with the democratic governance and the economic model and how far they've favored a governance model over the platform that assure the participation of those who contribute to the value generation or they or on the decision-making regarding the the benefits generated the second dimension has to do with the policy on the technological side and the knowledge policy and the type of data in this regard that is very different the type of technology of some of the platform a sit on free and open source software project and open data in control positions which those who use proprietary software and closed data which doesn't allow to work with transparency or doesn't allow to collaborate in the development of of the technology the last principle have to do with a impact and in terms of value generation and the social responsibility. regarding the estern a letís so on the basis of these three principles the governance the technological policiesand the impact and the social responsibility we can see that there are certain models that are characterized as Commons oriented or more open oriented or plat for competitiveness that our corporate is behind the platforms.
That is the case for example of faire mondo which is a kind of a eBay of change of products over a platform or a smart IV which is a platform over 30 between freelance on the cultural sectors in which this type of modalities a favored more democratic governance a type of technology and knowledge policy that is based on open knowledge and favored transparency uncle technological sovereignty and control and are more socially responsible regarding their impact into the cities these type of models are very different from those which are more instruction ease or more unique or base which are have a more closed down governance not involved in the communities it has a proprietary kind of software and closed that access modalities and are creating the route impact into the city's putting in in in in crisis certain historical rights and not respecting local regulations and and there are much more than these there are a lot of favorite models but these help us to orientate a bit between the different type ologies of of platforms now I would like to give the floor to the to record spell and Melissa are now both are researchers from the plus project is a european project which address how far the digital platforms are transformed in day labor and how far policies from cities can has come adapt to the transformation of labor by digital pram force and how to adapt the welfare state into this process.
Unfortunately sander macabre which was the is the principal investigation of the plus project could join us because he is ill excuse his non participation. But regard spelt and Melissa and now will provide the insights from the plusproject for today discussion thank you
thank you my well as my own say the the plus project is a project funded by Oregon 2020 program these are the the partners of the project as you can see there are some institutions regarding to research and there are three main pilots who are going to test or they are going
to test the results of the project.
One of the pilots is for being me an alternative of Airbnb the other one is Katuma the local chapter of the open food network that is Agroecology consumption platform to provide source food sources to consumers and finally a smart that it's a cooperative platform focus on culture and arts and arts.
The plus project has started this year andit's addressed to the main features of platform economies impact on work welfare and Social Protection through a groundbreaking transwoman approach the project gives in for the eruptive platform sectors the taxi services the network hospitality business the urban food delivery and on-demand home services and carrying focusing on the impact of four platforms.
Airbnb the living room helping Annabelle seven cities participate in the project Barcelona we're in Vilonia least on London and Paris and talent.
Today we will have the opportunity to dialogue with three of the political representative of three of the cities Barcelona, Berlin and Vilonia on all interesting of this project is that the framework of the project conceptualizedsocio-economical approach the political approach the historical action research that it's performing in this film because there is to create a framework that taking consideration these different disciplines.
For the reason I think it could be better rich with a political representative of each city the results that we are going to explain now is performed by diamonds group it is an en free internet and Terry supplier Institute of the Open University of Catalonia. The mission of the group is fostering socio-economic innovation through our research method a little experimentation an action for a commons oriented society for the reason + project dips in our field of research Maya told just before about the sharingcities star or the sharing
The sharing the sharing the star of democratic qualities that the sharing a star provides at the same time he had referred to the to the principles of the Declaration of sharing cities and for our research we try to build this framework to dialogue between the sharing a star with the principles of Declaration and also with sustainable development goals we have some conclusions about this that could be very interesting to explore in during also the debate because some some insights are that the sustainable development goals are embed mainly inthe impact of responsibility dimensions and governance but there is a lack of connections with especially with the digital characters of the data forexample or the technological policies.
This is something that works better with with the connections with principles of the Declaration as we can see there are a good connection with sustainable development goals and the sharing cities decoration and for the reason we thinkthat the sustainability start sharing declaration in a in a step forward for a shifting sharing economy forwards for the sustainable development goals this is one thing that weawy are working during the the project melissa is going to present the results I love you so
Basically I'm going to explain a little bit the research of dimons in the plus project, so what we are doing. We are doing and research about different 60 platforms in four different sectors.
So the taxi services, Network Hospital business, urban food delivery and on-demand home services caring.
We include in the sample of the 60 cases the main platforms, so include for example, Airbnb, Couchsurfing, the main players, you can imagine. So the ones that are in the main cities of the world. But we also include different platforms we include a smaller platforms and also platforms that are basing cooperative models and try to promote a different type of platform economy.
Of these sixty cases then we did 20 structured interviews with each of the different cases in these 20 structured interviews they meet the half of them were competitive is models so they are basically already trying to promote a
failure and platform economy and sharing and to promote better values.
From the 60 cases, 44 of them are for-profit platforms, so they want to earn money. But we also see that we have other type of businesses other type of organizations that have tried to use platforms and try to have an impact on the digital economy and we also wanted to study them in order to differentiate the different models that are appearing in the in the platform economy ecosystem and the
I'm just going to give you some some data about our first results in order to also to stimulate a debate and to see what is happening now.
There are four cooperatives really being different from for-profit models or
In the sample we included a lot of alternative platforms that are trying to promote a fairer platform economy but we also and these are the like before I think best examples that we can give in each of these sectors.
For example Cotabo is a taxi services plus platform company. I think that it started like in the 1967 or something like this and it's a platform that of course there were in traditional taxi drivers so they didn't for example didn't know how to use facebook or how to start googling and and what they did in order to take to take advantage ofthe digitalization of the economy is to
built a platform and they are already liked em they are giving education to each of the of the workers that they are there and they are owners of the platform so they are constantly thinkinghow it is built the data policies that are in integrated in the platform the governance of the platform etc.
FairBnB is also a good example, because apart from being an alternative to Airbnb, so apart from providing bedrooms or providing spaces for people to sleep, they also want to be a funding space for projects, so they want people that are participating in the independent form to choose within with part of the money that they are giving to it part of the income to choose which models alternative models will they like to fund so for example if there if some day. It's very important to start off financing projects I'll turn financing projects alternative or something and the members consider that it is important to to provide funding for it then amphibian B will be in a space to carry out this is coopcycle. It's also an interesting initiative because its a Federation of cooperatives that are united basically because they want to they want to us for better laborour conditions in the food deliverymeansem sector
In concrete the Coopcycle is providing them the in digital tool in order to don't do not have to produce like constantly adifferent platform for each competitive which is really expensive we know that producing gaps is expensive so they produce us an unequal app and it an appa general app and each of them uses it and at the same time they are it's it'sa network where each of the of the cooperatives it's talking with eachother they decide about the governance they decide about the data policies they decide for example they are they are also performing taking courses in order to know how to for example deliver things more in a safety way basic things that in default profit but from economyit's not happeningunless least.
Ori ¿? is also an interesting case because it's a traditional competitive that has a really huge bank a long background here in in Catalunya but they are also trying to start digitalising themselves and it's it's been important because it's salary a competitive that has like four thousand workers more or less more of them are it's in the current sector so they are providing services to for the for the other elderly and what they want to do now it's ok we have this we have this really long standing cooperatives that it's working so how we can do something competitive platform ice right so trying to to to trespass this model to the platform economy so this is I think there there are internal interesting cases and here from the 20 interviews that I that I will perform we have that so what you could say ok if All of them are cooperatives you should half of them she will also have the all the workers should be the owners right of the platform because basically that's what cooperatives - but we don't have this case and we have that some of them areFederation's so most of the some of the men some of the members are not work workers or are not owners of the legal entity but where they are trying to promote and they have like a mix model but they are trying to
So the we have like six cases that we can a study of workers or ownership okay also another important thing is the governance model so hope for example the France by themselves are providing spaces of organize for organization for workers so in its terms they are providing failure working rights etc this it's very interesting because we find that for-profit flag platform is very big I cannot say the names because of anomaly reasons but I'msure that you can imagine some of them tell us that they are providing spacesfor workers in order to organize and these are platforms that the workers by themselves are being organized because they want to ask for federal rights and
This is this is very interesting because we see that these platforms this cities some disadvantage for them instead of thinking that this is an advantage in order to promote a very working conditions in the platform economy and in general in the economy they see it assomething negative and in what they want to do they dream is to remove this part of the platform so they are when they do you interview them they are saying okay how we can remove this in order to do not have problems with law you know Iwant to have told my employees atself employed years so I don't want to have any problem and then we want to provide any spaces from permitting between careers and in the streets I don't want anything of this because basically for this reason it's very important platform cooperatives becauseby themselves they are already and we are already organizing workforce and they are already by by this main fact of starting an alternative they are already promoting failure working conditions because for example hearing we have in Barcelona very known alternative that t's Coffman sokka's ¿Mensakas? means a cos is a platform cooperative that basically it's
it was built I think that three years ago from the different the workers that were working for the lever rule glow etc hey decided to start an alternative tostart something that was cornered by them and and to start for stealing better working condition and they started this this this business model that it's completely different and they are still still they are still in the beginning but they are already using a platform and what which platform they are using so they are using Coopcycle platform so we see that it's veryimportant the connections between each of the competitive models and the competitive economy regarding the juridical statues of the workers so we know that in paid employment interactional are attached to traditional social safety net models we see that we have really few platforms
there just just three of them can clean
themselves that they are in paid
employment so this is this is a really big number I mean this means that also Platinum cooperatives ¿? are not able to produce and play the employment figures to promote paid employment and most ofthem are in in mixed models so they are doing the early between between
The two models yet they regards on stiff employment workforce but they also regards on paid employment workforce and what does it happened it happens because they cannot afford the fact of pain pain of paid employment sometimes they they are competing in the same market as the other ones
So they are competing with regulations that maybe are not promoting greally working rights in the whole platform economy so they find themselves of thinking okay we have we want to promote better working conditions and they are in in the in the way of saying okay we want to be in paid employment. But at the same time we find that we have to do it like in a flexible way we have to compete in the market and it's very difficult to compete with the same conditions being fair so that's why we need also new regulations because if we want to promote better alternatives and better platforms and we need also to compete in the same terms and this means also improving working rights for for everyone
Another interesting data it's the salary over is the salary when I guess when weasked them if they were providing a salary over the minimum wage per hour just six of the platforms were able to say that yes they are doing it for all
the workers. we see that in the sense breaker ization of the platform economy goes beyond for-profit platforms and also it's in in the middle of the of the cooperative'seconomy so here we really need a pushfrom from public administrations inorder to improve the situation and to really foster alternative models and better working conditions
Another interesting topic that I'm sure everyone interested it's about flexibility so what's really happening right who is choosing who is deciding how many works how many hoursit is they are working and also the the
the the decision the decision not because they claim to be flexible to promoting flexibility but they are maybe not really doing it so what what happened here we see that of courseplatforms claim most of the Photo Clubfor profit for profit platform sorry
claim that they are being flexible that they really the collaborators in this sense it that's the name used are completely free free of choosing the time schedule that they are working on.
But when you ask them ok what's the negotiation so it is happening right it's it's a negotiation so every time that the worker gets inside an app if he has more power if the the career has more power then he will be able to choose a better a better time a schedule better workingconditions etc.
So in this sense the fact that we have here five platforms that claim that they are negotiating with workers these needs to take into account that this means that this is a negotiation based on power. So if workers are in we we are not helping them giving them both better working rights and now is not helping them then we cannot they cannot ask for better working rights it's that simple as as these did not have the power and we also find that so five platforms are doing it in a negotiated way and two platforms are doing it and from the the platform perspective.
So the platform really chooses how many hours are they working so just four platforms of the 20 platforms that we interview where really the producer was really choosing how many hours they would work and the schedule and these most of them were cooperative platforms so what's our. what are the conclusions of this, basically there are different models in the platform economy that's what basically my you said before and we have to take them into account we have to take them into account from from in each of the panels so we have to stop talking every day about Airbnb and Uber which are of course they have a huge impact but we also have to start thinking about other alternatives that are also taking place and there is starting to promote different conditions in this sense it's very important then to understand that each of these platforms has also different working conditions for theworkers and they are competing in a context so in this context of competition we need the same rules for everyone know we need everyone to to be following the same rules in order to promote the working conditions and then starting a competing in a fair way that's why I think that we can conclude that public funding and the role governments it's very important if we really need to find an agreement a global agreement about labor rights what kind of digital rights do we want in this society we need to think to reach an agreement between for exampleEurope we need to reach an agreement about because it's for another thing that we find is that for example
platforms have like different models they go to Barcelona and they for example they have self-employed but then they go to Berlin and they are all employees this cannot happen we have to find them a model that they can also forfor the benefit of the platforms but also for the benefit of cities saying okay these are the rules these are theworking regs that you have to promote that's basic human rights and then to start then to start competing no because even then it's not it's not really fair so I hope I can I have given some interesting data for for the panel.
Now I will just like to give you to invite you to the stage.
debate (no notes taken)
Hi, welcome everyone, I'll be quick my name's Marie Cox I'm a data activist and ounder of insider maybe I collect data on a baby before this project I acted as a researcher I collaborated with the sharing cities Action Network to try and find out from the cities that were involved in the broader network some common actions were focused on three different research questions about data negotiations and collaboration.
We send the survey out to more than 60 different cities 20 participated and we also had follow-up interviews with 6 of them as mainly euro focused it would have been better if there was a little bit broader but there was participation from cities in North America as well San Francisco and Montreal as a basis to understand the frameworks in each city their priorities we asked the cities about their policy objectives by far the highest priority policy objectives were about preserving housing affordability and availability and ii was taxes it's been a lot of focus in the news in the last couple of weeks about party houses in short term accommodations again this what these weren't policy objectives for months the city so housing availability in affordability and in taxes when we are cities about what were the barriers that they were finding in in terms of achieving their policy objectives and ensuring compliance they mentioned access to data and also the lack of addresses in data, so I'm only going to summarize what the research told us about the data strategies negotiation and collaborate collaboration opportunities but we'll be talking with cities about the research in more detail and release a report about the research but on in terms of data strategies we found the cities were using data to inform their policy and create policy to create political and public awareness to create political capital also proving that regulation was in a common interest that regulation was required and then also helping with compliance and enforcement
there was a public short-term rental data is available through projects like myself inside Airbnb there's commercial operators and also cities are scraping the platforms themselves and also collaborating with each other so providing expertise amongst the cities with scraping technology also in a fewkey cases cities have been able to get data from the platforms in the case ofSan Francisco the platforms are required to provide data to the cities and there are some new French laws that cities like Paris and Bordeaux are expecting to be able to use in the next month and so we have to see what's going to happen whether the the platforms will provide data but these could become models for cities to be able to demand access to data not just for taxes but also for compliance in terms of negotiation strategies most cities failed with in negotiations with platforms except in the cases of taxes in the case of taxes eight of the eight out of thirteen cities were able to negotiate tax agreements or to regulate tax agreements the cities recommended they basically recommended regulation of a negotiationand in the case of the European Union joining networks like the European network of short-term rentals to lobbythe EU so the collaboration strategies were regional cooperation sharing a Bertie's for example a barcelona has become an expert in the Catalonia region and other parts of Spain Vienna is providing striking technology to other german-speaking our cities and so there's more potential for that there's also the French cities collaborated to create national laws the EU lobbying that Albert mentioned and also sharing resources so straightening technology data reports a clear majority of cities wandered data and one of data reports and then also collaborating on regulations which regulations were effective so the
I provided a little bit of guidance to two cities what cities are thinking about in terms of datanegotiation and collaboration that's thank you okay we have some time for debate my no we have to finish. okay so we don't have to time to debate I would like to thank you to both presen
tations and also thank you all of you a
nd participation in the whole sess
ion and I would invite you to com
e to the distant lab just in front of the Barcelona City Council one in which we are going to keep having the debate and having activities during today and also tomorrow so see you there