2017-02-06 3 min read



Hey all, Dan here. I'm a designer who has spent the last six years working in Hong Kong in architecture and urban planning; as of last month, I'm back in NYC for good. I've always been fascinated by the complex relationships between cities and infrastructure, logistics, and technology. Hope you enjoy an architect's take on The Prepared:

Making & Manufacturing.

  • Back in 2015, Spencer included a link about China's quest to make a decent domestic ballpoint pen. The six-year effort has now yielded China's first domestic ballpoint pen.
  • I'm enjoying the BBC's Podcast '50 Things That Made the Modern Economy,' including this episode on the IKEA Billy Bookcase documenting the incremental improvements made over time to reduce costs.
  • Adidas is building an advanced manufacturing center in Germany, and another near Atlanta, dubbed The Speedfactory. In addition to new design and manufacturing techniques, they hope to shorten the supply chain for athletic shoes.


Distribution & Logistics.

  • Amazon has leased 900 acres at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport for its Prime Air Hub, with plans for a 3 million sqft sorting facility and a capacity for 100 aircraft.
  • Not to be outdone, China's SF Express logistics company will build an entire airport in Ezhou, Hubei Province through a joint venture with a developer. It is planned as the largest cargo hub in Asia.  SF Express is also the same company that utilizes public streets and sidewalks in Hong Kong as on-demand manual sorting facilities.
  • China's second largest online retailer, JD.com, currently operates 20 drone delivery routes to rural villages and plans to expand to 100 routes by the end of 2017. There are currently 30 drones in the fleet, split between 5 custom models.
  • Ocado, a UK online-only supermarket, has developed a robot in partnership with Disney Research Zurich that can gently handle fruits and vegetables - the robots use air pressure-controlled fingers to grasp.
  • The US Postal Service is still the most formidable logistics operation on Earth - This 99% Invisible podcast episode revisits the radical democracy of nation-wide delivery logistics.



  • Although NRG Stadium attracted all the attention as the host of the Super Bowl this weekend, the long empty Astrodome next door just gained official designation as a 'State Antiquities Landmark,' alongside the Alamo, State Capitol, and Cotton Bowl. The Astrodome opened in 1965 - a technical triumph creating the world's largest air-conditioned space and introducing AstroTurf artificial grass.
  • The Super Bowl halftime show utilized 300 Intel drones to create a light show.
  • This Cathay Pacific cargo 747 is so very hungry - video
  • A workshop makes traditional lanterns for Chinese New Year - nytimes 360 video
  • Videos of Piaggio's new personal cargo robots are incredibly endearing.

And thanks to Andreas for sending this:
The Mega Scale of Emirates Airline Operations & Maintenance

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