World cities of ride-hailing

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Drawing on an original database created to assess the early emergence of a disruptive industry, this paper analyzes the urban economic geography of eleven ride-hailing firms, each with a market valuation in excess of $1 billion. The paper investigates the locations of headquarters and secondary offices, exploring patterns and drawing connections to the literatures on world cities, innovation, and agglomeration. The paper concludes that ride-hailing demonstrates familiar patterns of urban concentration and agglomeration, privileging a select number of superstar cities. The analysis highlights new geographic features associated with world cities engaged in the digital platform economy–namely, heightened concentration of headquarters and secondary office locations, combined with the global dispersal of service offerings. Finally, the urban geography of these powerful firms has implications for how we think about the world cities literature, the platform economy, and the larger challenges of innovation and inequality in the global urban economy.




Brail, S. (2022). World cities of ride-hailing. Urban Geography, 43(1), 12–33.

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