ABSTRACT

This chapter offers the notion of algorithmic spatiality as a way to capture the unique spatial knowledge created by digital mobile media, how it acts upon space, and is perceived by other actors involved in the production of space. Focusing on the navigation giant Waze, it asks how this actor legitimates the spatial knowledge it creates and the effects it incurs. Theoretically, it interrogates how Waze asserts its “right to the city” by insisting on creating superior spatial knowledge. These questions are discussed in light of an empirical case study: a clash between Waze and local residents over the application’s practice of diverting traffic through side-roads, located in serene neighborhoods and villages in Israel. These legal, political, and discursive clashes reached public discussions, which form the corpus of the research. The chapter shows how along long-established forms of knowledge, which underlie different actors’ right to the city – expert knowledge, democratic knowledge, market knowledge, and local knowledge – emerges a new kind of knowledge, backed by big data and algorithms and managed by a platform, which claims its right to the production of space. Traditionally upheld by underprivileged groups and individuals, the right to the city is currently upheld by a socio-technical assemblage.