Reverse Technology Assessment in the Age of the Platform Economy
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.
Keywords: Sharing Economy; Sharing Platforms; Technology Assessment