Uber, Taxis and Urban Mobility Infrastructures: Exploring Pathways towards Platform Futures

Cities around the globe have seen their mobility infrastructures transformed over the last decade. The upsurge of tech corporations in ride-hailing and other industries has played a powerful role in these transformations. On the one hand, this has spurred processes of (re)assembling and (re)bundling of socio-material infrastructures. At the same time, emergent socio-technological practices challenge long-rehearsed labour relations and conditions, including an apparent formalisation of so-called informal work. Through this event, we want to take stock of the impact this development has had in different regions of the world.

We seek to discuss the following questions at the intersection of mobility infrastructures, work and the city: How are mobility platforms embedded in (or disembedded from) the socio-material infrastructures of the city? What are the continuities and disruptions? How do platforms reproduce existing divisions among workers and among passengers or produce new divides? What practices of solidarity have evolved among workers in this context? How does platformisation influence public/private infrastructure development? And how do these insights contribute to shaping more progressive platform futures? 

The workshop will investigate these questions through an analysis of several cities around the world: Buenos Aires, Mumbai, Toronto and Berlin. By connecting the developments in each city, as well as through practical exchange with a driver representative from Berlin, we aim at generating a productive exchange about the state and future of urban mobility infrastructures.



10:00 Welcome and Introduction


10:30 Presentation 1: „Uber vs Taxis“ in Buenos Aires,
(Juan Del Nido, University of Cambridge)


11:00 Response and Discussion
(Tobias Kuttler, Habitat Forum Berlin)


 11:30 – 11:45 Break


11:45 Presentation 2: Contested Work and Racial Lines: Uber in Berlin
(Stefania Animento, HU Berlin)

12:15 Conversation with a driver/representative
of the Berlin taxi industry


13:00 – 14:00 Lunch Break


14:00 Presentation 3: „Neither they earn, nor do they let us earn” –
Contestation and Solidarities in Mumbai’s Taxi Sector
(Tobias Kuttler, Habitat Forum Berlin)


14:30 Presentation 4: The State of Uberisation: Taxi and Ridehail
Struggles in Toronto
(Fabian Namberger, Goldsmiths)

15:00 Response and Discussion
(Valentin Niebler, HU Berlin)


15:30 – 15:45 Coffee Break


15:45 Presentation 5: 'Smart' Cities after Dusk -
New Mobility Infrastructures and the Night
(Laura-Solmaz Litschel, HU Berlin)


16:15 Response and Discussion
(Barbara Orth, FU Berlin)


16:30 Closing Discussion: Common Links and Challenges


17:00 Drinks


There is limited space available. Please pre-register for the event
until 31.01.2023 at


Organisation and Facilitation

Valentin Niebler (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin), Tobias Kuttler (Habitat Forum Berlin), Barbara Orth (Freie Universität Berlin)


Event Partners

Lehrstuhl Soziologie der Zukunft der Arbeit, Institut für Sozialwissenschaften,
Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Forschungsprojekt Transforming Solidarities. Praktiken und Infrastrukturen in der Migrationsgesellschaft’, Berlin University Alliance