Streets without shops

[…] We already know the impact Uber has had on taxis, Airbnb on hotels, and even, perhaps, dating apps for gay bars and queer culture. But apps are also taking on long-standing local independent businesses that may not be standing for much longer: everything from cobblers (with the Shoe Drop app) and barbers (Shortcut, « Uber for haircuts ») to launderettes and dry cleaners (Laundrapp, ZipJet).

Should these on-demand services really catch on, it will be a serious challenge for a whole swathe of independent businesses offering everyday services that are already suffering. If we no longer need to walk to the local shops to get our groceries, drop off our dry cleaning and fix our shoes, just how long will it be before the cafes charging extortionate prices for cups of coffee swoop in to take their place?

When you assume that no one needs laundrettes anymore because you can get your laundry picked up and delivered through an app […], you’re automatically annulling a big swathe of the population who actually need them. What’s more, the transformation of these services from physical spaces to simple deliveries takes away some important inclusive places for social interaction.

In New York, it is clear that neighbourhoods like the West Village gentrified long before smartphones, with rents being the determining factor, but technology “might be the nail in their coffin”, suggested Peter Moskowitz in the New Republic. “Apps don’t start the process, but they do enable neighbourhoods to retain their real estate value without having any local value,” he argued.[…]

As a thriving website and app, Airbnb is already putting a strain on rents – and some say contributing to gentrification. By renting apartments out to tourists, its users are, whether they like it or not, contributing to a lack of affordable housing. Cities including Berlin and Barcelona have already taken measures like banning it altogether or heavily cracking down on illegal flats on the site.
Like everything related to the g-word, these processes are far from black and white. For a lot of independent businesses, namely restaurants, getting on the app bandwagon seems to have worked well, helping them stay put and not rely solely on foot traffic. Apps like Deliveroo, the food delivery service that has taken the high street by storm, or Uber’s food delivery branch, are only a couple of years old, and are growing rapidly and employing armies of (precarious) workers. […]

Marta Bausells, The Guardian, Friday, October 7th 2016

I. VERSION (sur 20 points)

Traduire à partir de « Should these on-demand services really catch on… » jusqu’à « … takes away some important inclusive places for social interaction. »

(de la ligne 6 à la ligne 15)

II. QUESTIONS (sur 40 points)

1. Question de compréhension du texte

Explain how new technologies have redefined urban living in some areas.

(150 mots + ou – 10%* ; sur 20 points)

2. Question d’expression personnelle

Would you say that the Uberisation of the economy is creating a new underclass?

(250 mots + ou – 10% * sur 20 points)

*Le non-respect de ces normes sera sanctionné (Indiquer le nombre de mots utilises)

III. THEME (sur 20 points)

1. Depuis combien de temps les étudiants manifestent-ils contre l’augmentation des frais de scolarité?

2. La majorité des Ecossais s’interroge désormais sur la place de leur nation an sein du Royaume-Uni.

3. Plus les électeurs craignent pour l’avenir, plus ils ont tendance à soutenir des candidats radicaux.

4. Dans quatre cas de fraude sur dix, les enquêteurs n’ont pas assez de preuves.

5. La légalisation des drogues douces permettra-t-elle d’accroitre les recettes fiscales ?

6. Le parlement britannique n’a jamais été aussi divisé sur la question européenne.

7. Malgré l’optimisme des cadres dirigeants, l’avenir de l’entreprise demeure incertain.

8. Il pourrait y avoir une autre manière d’envisager les transports urbains.

9. Ces pays ne connaîtront pas la croissance sans investir davantage dans les universités.

10. Même si beaucoup la critiquent, peut-on vraiment dire que sa carrière est finie ?