Drawing on interviews with gig workers, policymakers, Uber lobbyists, and community organizers, Katie J. Wells will discuss her new book, Disrupting D.C.: The Rise of Uber and the Fall of the City (co-authored with Kafui Atto and Declan Cullen) and explain how Uber offered a lifeline — though a costly one — to cities struggling with broken transit, underemployment, and racial polarization. The story she will tell is not the story of one company and one city. Instead, Wells will offer a 360-degree view of an urban America in crisis. Uber arrived promising a new future for workers, residents, policymakers, and others. Ultimately, Uber’s success and growth was never a sign of urban strength or innovation but a sign of urban weakness and low expectations about what city politics can achieve. Understanding why Uber rose reveals just how far the rest of us have fallen.
Katie J. Wells is a postdoctoral fellow at Georgetown University. She studies how tech affects the way we live in cities, and especially how we govern them. A native of Canton, Ohio, she has lived in the District of Columbia for 19 years. For additional information on her forthcoming book, please visit the event page at the Center for Social Science Scholarship.
Admission is free, and light refreshments will be served.
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