It was here that the company created a playbook for how to deal with intransigent regulators and to win in the realm of local politics. The city already serves as the nation's capital. Now, D.C. is also the blueprint for how Uber conquered cities around the world--and explains why so many embraced the company with open arms.
Drawing on interviews with gig workers, policymakers, Uber lobbyists, and community organizers, DISRUPTING D.C. demonstrates that many share the blame for lowering the nation's hopes and dreams for what its cities could be. In a sea of broken transit, underemployment, and racial polarization, Uber offered a lifeline. But at what cost?
This is not the story of one company and one city. Instead, DISRUPTING D.C. offers 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.
Dr. Katie 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. She has published findings on data surveillance, labor rights, and public policy in academic journals, and discussed the real-time impacts of her research in 90+ media stories. She lives in DC.
Dr. Lester Spence is a Professor of Political Science and Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He specializes in the study of black, racial, and urban politics in the wake of the neoliberal turn. An award winning scholar (in 2013, he received the W.E.B. DuBois Distinguished Book Award for his book, STARE IN THE DARKNESS: THE LIMITS OF HIP-HOP AND BLACK POLITICS) and teacher (in 2009, he received an Excellence in Teaching Award), he can regularly be heard on National Public Radio and the Marc Steiner Show.