Rob Kitchin is a co-editor (along with Mark Graham, Shannon Mattern, and Joe Shaw) of a new book ‘How to Run a City Like Amazon, and Other Fables’ published by Meatspace Press. The book consists of 38 chapters, with all but six consisting of speculative short fiction.
Should cities be run like businesses? Should city services and infrastructure be run by businesses? For some urban commentators, policy-makers, politicians and corporate lobby groups, the answer is ‘yes’ to both questions.
Others are critical of such views, cautious about shifting the culture of city administration from management to entrepreneurship, and transforming public assets and services run for the common good into markets run for profit.
The stories and essays in How to Run a City Like Amazon, and Other Fables explore how a city might look, feel and function if the business models, practices and technologies of 38 different companies were applied to the running of cities. What would it be like to live in a city administered using the business model of Amazon (or Apple, IKEA, Pornhub, Spotify, Tinder, Uber, etc.) or a city where critical public services are delivered by these companies?
Collectively, the chapters ask us to imagine and reflect on what kind of cities we want to live in and how they should be managed and governed.