UCL Urban Laboratory


Public Values in a Platform Society: Urban Governance by Platforms?

04 March 2019, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

Martijn de Waal lecture

Event Information

Open to



The Peter Hall Room (Room G01), Central House, 14 Upper Woburn Place, London, WC1H 0NN

In their book 'The Platform Society', Martijn de Waal and his co-authors Jose van Dijck and Thomas Poell offer a comprehensive analysis of a connective world where platforms have penetrated the heart of societies-disrupting markets and labor relations, circumventing institutions, transforming social and civic practices and affecting democratic processes. The book questions what role online platforms play in the organization of Western societies, analyzing intense struggles between competing ideological systems and contesting societal actors -market, government and civil society- raising the issue of who is or should be responsible for anchoring public values and the common good in a platform society.

In his Urban Laboratory Policy Seminar, de Waal will discuss the way platform mechanisms work, and to what effect they amount to struggles over their governance, for instance in fights over regulation between individual platforms and city governments, while also addressing an emerging world wide platform ecosystem embedded in geopolitical power clashes between global markets and (supra-)national governments.

The talk will be chaired by Dr Ellie Cosgrave (Co-Director, UCL Urban Laboratory and Lecturer in Urban Innovation, UCL STEaPP).


Martijn de Waal is a professor (lector) at the research group Play & Civic Media at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. His work focusses on digital media & public space, and the design of public values in a networked society. His publications include 'The Platform Society' (with Thomas Poell and Jose van Dijck, Oxford University Press); 'The Hackable City' (eds. with Michiel de Lange, Springer 2018) and 'The City as Interface: How Digital Media are Changing the City' (NAi010 publishers, 2014).


  • There is step free access to the room on the ground floor, and accessible toilets are located close to the room within the building. For more detailed accessibility information please visit the AccessAble guide.


Please register to attend the talk on Eventbrite.

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