Mafaz comes to DIGI-GOV hoping to offer a legal perspective in exploring the roles and actions of Large Digital Corporations (LDC’s) on Urban Governance. He enrolled in his Master’s program to learn and look into the effects a jurisdiction’s tax laws can have on its governance, how they affect accountability and sovereignty in a given place. Beyond fitting alongside his more academic interests, Mafaz comes to DIGI-GOV out of a love and reverence for cities. The son of a career diplomat, he has lived in a lot of places, but always in cities, some serving as many as 20,000,000 people and others as small as Luxembourg. As a lifelong city-zen, Mafaz hopes to help map the future of the “city” in the digital age.
An avid fan of mountains, Mafaz goes camping whenever he can. His favourite place to go is nearly anywhere in the Scottish Highlands, even when they’re infested with rain and midges. If he could do anything to a city to make it better, he would add more tennis courts and Mexican restaurants.
It is also a great pleasure to congratulate Karinne Madron who graduated from the Master in Architecture programme at the Department of Geography and Spatial Planning and began her PhD with DIGI-GOV this summer. The over all aim of her project with the working title, 'The multi-scalar spatial fixes of urban development led by large digital corporations (LDCs),' is to understand the unfolding bigger picture of urbanism under corporations like Google or Amazon. Her research involves a comparative analysis of Luxembourg and the Netherlands, two countries of interest because of their relationship to Google. The Netherlands hosts two of Google’s six data centres in Europe, while Luxembourg is projected to host Europe's seventh in the small municipality of Bissen. Both countries also have digitalization strategies and are aiming to position themselves at the forefront of Europe’s digital vanguard. Key here is the policy contexts of each and wider implications of LDC-led urbanism in terms of urban spatial fixes and post-politics as they steer urban development narratives on one hand and infrastructural development on the other.