Logistical Urbanism

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Logistical Ecologies


Team: Conor O'Shea

"Logistical Urbanism: Recalibrating America's freight interface as a catalyst for new field conditions in 21st Century Chicago" is a proposal to co-locate housing, retail, warehousing, distribution facilities, and intermodal freight facilities according to regional land uses, watersheds, and existing transportation infrastructure.

Since deregulation of the transportation industry in the 1980s, the use of the shipping container for transporting goods manufactured in newly industrializing Asian countries to sites of consumption in the United States has given rise to vast logistical landscapes. This back-stage network of rails, warehousing, and distribution facilities sustains much of the front-stage lifestyles commonly associated with urban living. This proposal bundles housing, retail, and freight delivery into cluster developments, using byproducts of of one system as another's inputs. The length of each unit is proportional to the length of a container train--up to 8,000 feet in length. In this case study, the system is deployed in the Fox River watershed. Containers ordinarily sent back to Asia empty are instead filled with soybeans from nearby farms. Meanwhile, stormwater runoff from the developments is used to irrigate the fields.