Hi all, Dan Hui back for another edition of The Prepared from an architect's point of view. This week's issue looks at how logistics is simultaneously pushing deeper into cities and outward to the remotest parts of Asia.
Distribution & Logistics.
- The Economist covers how the owner of a brothel created the world's largest industrial park, The Reno Tahoe Industrial Center, home to the Tesla Gigafactory and sites for Google and Wal-Mart.
- Airbus debuted its larger BelugaXL aircraft, for ferrying aircraft components between assembly facilities.
Making & Manufacturing.
- The New York City Economic Development Corporation released a study attributing a 5.6% decline in public transportation ridership to ride sharing, in addition to bikesharing, and new ferry services.
- A critical look at the Second Ave Subway ridership numbers a year and a half into the new service.
- NYTimes on how uncertainty about AVs have unsettled transit planning conversations.
- Behind the Koch brother's campaign to vote down transit projects around the country.
- NYC unveiled a $100M plan to develop maritime and rail infrastructure for freight. The plan is dubbed Freight NYC. Today, the majority of goods enter the city by truck.
- Hartford CT launched a new commuter rail line, and it exceeded passenger projections in its first week.
- Kroger bought a 5% stake in UK online grocer Ocado with plans to license their warehouse technology for grocery fulfillment centers in the US. While Amazon robots operate on the floor to move shelving around, Ocado robots seem to move in a zone just below the roof and traverse over a dense open top storage stack.
- Wal-Mart's Jet.com will open a fulfillment center in the Bronx this year and likely use it for food operations. Amazon also considered the same building. Competitor FreshDirect, which is profitable and holds a 54% market share in NYC, also opened a new distribution center nearby. When viewed along with the large wholesale markets at Hunts Point, the South Bronx is the food hub of New York.
- The NYTimes recently covered Amazon's delivery network in the Himalayas and The New Yorker profiled China's JD.com's use of drones in rural China. The two articles depict an infrastructure similar to the US Postal Service's Rural Free Delivery program, which began in 1896 and still exists today.
- While most infrastructure knits together remote geographies, others can disconnect. The Marshall Islands nation is on the verge of getting cut off from global banking systems because their sole national bank is deemed too small to comply with new global regulations. People are wiring money to Western Union or handing debit cards to US Military personnel to withdraw cash from the sole Bank of America ATM in the country, which is located on base.
Inspection, Testing & Analysis.
- The US Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is responsible for recalls and safety alerts, has a delightfully weird twitter feed that skirts the edges of visual poetry.
- I was curious about autonomous vehicle testing sites and wanted to compare their urban forms. MCity is run by the UMichigan and sports suburban features, like cul-de-sacs and divided roads. Waymo's testing site uses a portion of a decommissioned military base, with an existing street grid with buildings and some bike lanes. I'm guessing the test site is the area that does not light up blue when trying to place a google earth icon. Uber's site is a hyper-urban streetscape that looks like SimCity, with a variety of obstacles on the road edges, and no discernible bike lanes.
- The Oakland Coliseum is the last multi-purpose stadium in the US to house an NFL and MLB team. With the NFL Raiders moving to Las Vegas in 2020, there will only be a few more occasions remaining to watch a gigantic building completely transform overnight.
- In 2010, the US Post Office released a postage stamp of the Statue of Liberty, but mistakenly used an image of a replica statue at a Las Vegas casino instead of the real one in New York Harbor. US Claims Court awarded $3.5M in damages to the replica sculptor and revealed that just over 3% of those stamps went unused and represent pure profit to USPS. The percentage is probably even higher for stamps with more unique or collectible designs. I'm not sure the collectibles market gets discussed enough when people talk about how USPS has been disrupted by digital processes.
- Home Workspaces is an art project that tasked Mechanical Turks to photograph and share a photo of their Turking workspace. The result is a global survey of modest home workspaces, including what looks like a Walgreens pharmacy counter.
- MoMA just opened an excellent exhibition on architecture in the former Yugoslavia, when utopian experimentation was rendered in concrete and glass.
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