Back-alleys as ‘Base Camp’: Platform Economy Spaces of Solidarity

Platform economy delivery riders offer themselves as the last mile infrastructure which is as physical as it can get get as their bodies are on the line. In the gig era, humans are a service too (Pressl 2018).

The characteristic of a gig economy is one of ‘sociospatial atomisation’ where each worker is a discrete dot on the app map as an independent contractor where they compete against each other for the next order (Wells et al, 2020). The paucity of common spaces to gather is a common issue as the workplace has been extended to the scale of the city. The geographically sticky work is however unearthing hidden spatial terrains of rest in the back alleys where the gig economy rider takes a smoke break before the next delivery. Jakarta gig riders have made the common Kopi shop to charge their phones as a base camp (MIT Technology Review, 2022).

There are widespread attempts to include gig workers within the social protection net in Singapore and India.

Holland Village Back Alley where a gig worker is catching a breath

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s