essayist | geographer | cartographer

ph.d candidate in the department of geography at u. of kentucky

urban cultural & economic geographer

studying real estate tech in everyday life

photo: the pinnacles in berea, kentucky

about me

My name is Ian Spangler and I grew up outside of Richmond, VA. I've lived in Fredericksburg, VA, Washington, D.C., and New Orleans, LA, and currently reside in Lexington, KY.

I'm a geographer, writer, and cartographer. During my undergraduate career, I studied Geography and Creative Writing at the University of Mary Washington. After earning my BA in 2016, I went on to pursue a graduate degree at the UK Department of Geography. In my Master's research I studied gentrification, emotional labor, and short-term rentals in New Orleans. Presently, my dissertation work explores the spatialization of digital real estate platforms, especially in the US context.

I like chess, though I'm not all that good at it. I despise fluorescent lighting, and am a morning person, aspirationally. I nourish my soul by crafting artisanal memes about Twin Peaks, writing sea shanties, and playing Dungeons & Dragons every Friday night.

ian spangler headshot
pc: olivia c. meyer

peer-reviewed articles

Spangler, Ian. 2021. “What Seeps from the Pores.” you are here: a journal of creative geography 22: 6-13. (free | buy issue)

Spangler, Ian. 2020. “Hidden value in the platform’s platform: Airbnb, displacement, and the un-homing spatialities of emotional labor.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 45: 575-588. (paywall | free)

Stone, Meredith, Ian Spangler, Xavier Griffin, and Stephen Hanna. 2016. "Searching for the Enslaved in the ‘Cradle of Democracy’: Virginia’s James River Plantations and the Reproduction of Local Social Memories." Southeastern Geographer 56.2: 203-222. (free)

peer-reviewed conference proceedings

Nemer, David, Ian Spangler and Michaelanne Dye. 2018. “Airbnb and the Costs of Emotional Labor in Havana, Cuba.” 21st ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, 245-248. (paywall | free)

book reviews

Spangler, Ian. 2019. Review of Work: The Last 1,000 Years, by Andrea Komlosy. Labour and Industry: A Journal of the Social and Economic Relations of Work. 29.4: 388-391. (paywall)

Spangler, Ian. 2019. Review of Welcome to Fairyland: Queer Miami before 1940, by Julian Capó Jr. Antipode Book Review Symposium. (free)

Spangler, Ian. 2019. Review of Creole Italian: Sicilian Immigrants and the Shaping of New Orleans Food Culture, by Justin A. Nystrom. The AAG Review of Books 7.4: 243-246. (free)

literary journals

Spangler, Ian. 2021. “Red Wine Vinegar.” Southern Humanities Review 54.2: 45-65. (journal website)

Spangler, Ian. 2015. “Distortion, or Nothing Is Where You Think It Is.” Blotterature Literary Magazine 2.2: 4-14. (journal website)

in preparation

Zook, Matthew and Ian Spangler. “A Practice, not a Window: Understanding transparency in new spaces of finance.” For submission to Environment & Planning A.

Spangler, Ian. Submitted. “The Pony Island Lighthouse Keeper.”

Spangler, Ian. “Sweat matters: on the epistemology and spatial politics of perspiration.” For submission to cultural geographies.

selected paper presentations

“Codes, screens, and the racialization of platform real estate.” RGS-IBG Meeting. Virtual attendance.


“Conservative innovations: Understanding forms of development in digital real estate technologies.” American Association of Geographers. Virtual attendance.


“Sweat Matters: On the politics of perspiration.” 10th Annual Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference. Lexington, Kentucky.


“Airbnb, gentrification, and the value of everyday life: playing host as emotional labor in New Orleans.” American Association of Geographers. Washington, D.C.


“‘One More Way to Sell New Orleans: Airbnb and the Commodification of Authenticity through Local Emotional Labor.” Southeastern Division of the American Association of Geographers. Johnson City, Tennessee.


“Commodifying Authenticity in New Orleans: Airbnb and the Emotional Labor of Playing Host.” American Association of Geographers. New Orleans, Louisiana.


“Google, Airbnb, and Reproducing ‘The 73.’” 12th Annual Landscape, Space, and Place Conference. Bloomington, Indiana.


“‘Yo, Dre, I’ve Got Something To Say’: Listening to Compton’s Hip-Hop Landscape.” American Association of Geographers. Session Chair. Boston, Massachusetts.


“The ‘death-threat’ of Newtown Pike: Davis Bottom as a liminal landscape.” 11th Annual Landscape, Space, and Place Conference. Bloomington, Indiana.


“Searching for the Enslaved in the ‘Cradle of Democracy’: Virginia’s James River Plantations and the Reproduction of Local Social Memories.” Southeastern Division of the American Association of Geographers. Pensacola, Florida.


invited lectures & media appearances

"The Rosenwald Schools: Creating a Spatial Dataset at the National Level,” with Tiffany Tolbert and John Hildreth. National Trust for Historic Preservation: Preservation Leadership Forum Webinar Series. 30 January.


Interviewed by Sandy Hausman, with Dr. Stephen Hanna, Meredith Stone, and Xavier Griffin. More to the tour: Slave history at Virginia’s plantations.” WVTF radioIQ.


Interviewed by Emily Hollingsworth, with Dr. Stephen Hanna, Meredith Stone, and Xavier Griffin. “UMW Team Examines Slavery Narratives.” UMW Eagle Eye.


ongoing research projects

    I. platform real estate.
    Following research from geographer Joe Shaw, my dissertation explores the spatialization of digital real estate platforms. That is, how do new technologies for the management, transaction, surveyance and surveillance of real estate transform how we come to own the earth—and, perhaps more importantly, who gets to own it? from the verge
    II. short-term rentals.
    I have longstanding interests in short-term rental platforms and their relationships to the lived experiences of gentrification. Drawing on contemporary writing about platform urbanism, my research into short-term rentals shows how they facilitate feelings of "displacement in place"—and why that can actually be good for platforms like Airbnb. photo by ian spangler
    III. sweat.
    Inspired by the Sweat Geographies Collective, I've recently become fascinated with how sweat has been constiuted as an object of medical inquiry. Current trends in sweat sensing technology, which blur the lines between medical devices and consumer goods, call into question: how does sweat "matter" in the age of ubiquitous computation? thumbprint
Image sources from left to right: The Verge | Photo by author | Clark & Lhamon 1917

web mapping portfolio

sometimes I map things.

Below is a selection of my recent web mapping projects, developed largely as part of the New Maps Plus graduate certificate in digital mapping. Click any panel to navigate to a particular map.

creative writing

essay by ian spangler

sometimes, I write essays and short stories, too.

I mostly write creative nonfiction, especially memoir-type stuff that experiments with form. In it, I try to explore the complicated relationships between people and the places they inhabit. Previously, my writing's been published in Blotterature Literary Magazine and Southern Humanities Review.

download my essays here:

Distortion, or Nothing Is Where You Think It Is

Red Wine Vinegar (Forthcoming June 2021!)

My fiction, in collaboration with Robby Hardesty, focuses on the misadventures of The Editors, a pair of libatious archivists who demand of the reader an impossible task: that they be taken seriously, and at their word. We have no control over when these writings will be published; rather, we lay in waiting, anxiously wondering when the writings will publish us. We are at their mercy.

the editors

A rare image of The Editors, in their element, merrily adrift in the Russian Tundra.


I offer freelance services in copy editing, audio transcription, and GIS consulting. Please reach out to me via email for samples, questions, or quotes.

copy editing

Experience as a copy editor at disClosure and creative nonfiction editor at Rappahannock Review.

audio transcription

Practical experience transcribing qualitative interviews, for both an NSF grant and my personal research.

GIS consulting

Fluent with Esri Suite, QGIS, and Leaflet. Practical experience in urban planning, hydrology, historical GIS.



ian [dot] spangler [at] uky [dot] edu