Katie Wells Joins KI to Research Work Lives of Uber Drivers

Katie Wells

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We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Katie Wells, who is beginning a 3-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor the Working Poor. Katie has been conducting groundbreaking research on the work lives of Uber drivers.

As a Postdoctoral Fellow, Katie will continue her longitudinal study about the work lives of Uber drivers in the D.C. metro area. This research documents the social and economic effects of Uber’s chauffeur services on workers, on policymakers, and on public transit systems in one city over an extended period. Over the next three years, she will examine the tensions between the promises of technological innovations on the one hand and the responsibility, on the other hand, to develop urban infrastructure that supports social wellbeing.

Katie’s postdoctoral fellowship is made possible by the Urban Studies Foundation, which provides grant funding for innovative research projects that advance the frontiers of urban knowledge.

Katie is a geographer whose current work focuses on the nature of contingent labor in cities, the practices of smart city governance, and the future of urban infrastructure. Her work is interdisciplinary, drawing on theories from urban studies, human geography, and sociology. She has published this work in journals such as Antipode: A Radical Geography Journal, and ACME, and discussed its real-time impacts in media stories by National Public Radio and CityLab. Her research and writing has also appeared in KI’s Working-Class Perspectives blog in posts about the working conditions for Uber drivers and Uber’s heavy-handed lobbying in the District.

Katie has a B.A. from Ohio State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Geography from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School. She formerly held positions as a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Geography at George Washington University, and a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech.