The residential real estate industry is currently subject to an intensified wave of digital innovation that is changing how homes are bought and sold, how landlords approach property management, the temporality and socio-spatial configuration of renting, and the way tenants seek out homes and roommates. Because housing is both a fundamental mechanism in the reproduction of urban inequality and a crucial site of urban political movements, these changes demand careful study. In this talk I provide an overview of platform business models in the housing sector, present a series of conceptual entry points for studying digital transformations of housing and home, and outline a research agenda for critical studies of platform real estate.
Desiree Fields is an urban and economic geographer. Fields studies housing as a vector of urban inequality and terrain of grassroots political contestation. She has published widely on how finance and digital technologies are reshaping both housing markets and the experience of home, and the urban struggles that cohere around these changes. Fields is a trustee of the Urban Studies Foundation and a member of the editorial advisory board of Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the British Academy, and the Independent Social Research Foundation.