Legal Affordances in Global Wealth Chains: How Platform Firms Use Legal and Spatial Scaling

Maj Grasten, Leonard Seabrooke*, Duncan Wigan

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

191 Downloads (Pure)


Firms can use legal and spatial scaling to increase their control and capacity to exploit assets. Here we examine how platform firms, like AirBnB, Uber, and Bird, scale their operations through global wealth chains. Their use of law is to maximize wealth creation and protection, while their services use local spaces to extract value from established property, labor, and public thoroughfares. We examine how such ‘networked accumulation’ platform firms use legal and spatial scaling through legal affordances. This includes opportunities for absences, ambiguities and arbitrage that are realized via multi and inter-scalar strategies and produce variegation. Our analysis draws on legal documents, as well as interviews, from Barcelona and San Francisco. The article contributes with a model of how platform firms use legal and spatial scaling, as well as how activists can challenge their operations.
TidsskriftEnvironment and Planning A
Antal sider18
StatusUdgivet - 19 nov. 2021

Bibliografisk note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 19. November 2021

This research received funding from the European Research Council project #694943-CORPLINK.


  • Platform firms
  • Global wealth chains
  • Uber
  • AirBnB
  • Labor
  • Housing
  • Public thoroughfares
  • Social activism