Last week, SLU Urban Studies Professor Kafui Attoh made an appearance on WNYC’s On the Media to talk about the relationship between public transportation and democracy, closing out an hour that explores the injustices that undergird “feel good” stories about workers persevering through horrifying commutes and the perils of self-driving cars. From On the Media:
The lion’s share of our transit-oriented program this week has centered on the personal car and its infrastructure. This is no accident. The car speeds, stalls, thrills and kills us — all because we need a ride. But what if we’d really rather journey by bus?
Brooke spoke with Kafui Attoh, professor of urban studies at the CUNY Graduate Center, about the deep political connotations of “transit rights.” Such rights, Attoh argues in his forthcoming book Rights in Transit, have roots in Marx, Engels and Lefebvre’s thinking on the radical nature of cities.
Listen to the whole hour here or check out Prof. Attoh’s segment here.
Photo by Sergio SC via flickr (CC-BY-SA)
Dr. Kafui Attoh, Assistant Professor of Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute, has been awarded a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. His project is called Economic Inequality in the Driver’s Seat: Household Budgets in the On-Demand Mobile Services Sector, and it aims to get a snapshot of what work in the On-Demand Mobile Service Sector looks like — and what it means for how on-demand workers navigate the broader economy.
To get that snapshot, Prof. Attoh, along with collaborator Katie Wells, will examine contingent and part-time on-demand work in mobile transportation, hospitality, home services, delivery and logistics services, such as Uber, Seamless, Taskrabbit, and AirBnB.
Professor Attoh explains that “the project starts from the presumption that the growth of the on-demand mobile service sector…raises both important and timely questions for researchers concerned with the future of employment. Our study examines the household balance sheets of contingent workers employed by Uber Transportation, one of the fastest growing on-demand mobile services. By looking at the household balance sheets of Uber drivers, we will be able to examine the financial costs, benefits, and challenges facing this new type of worker, as well as the burdens and benefits such work creates for these workers’ households. This project poses two questions:
“How does contingent part-time work for Uber affect the stability and health of household finances and the allocation of household responsibilities, and what does the emergence of the on-demand mobile services sector mean for understanding inequitable growth in the U.S.?”