Plug-In City Outlets: Revisioning the Form of Urban Logistics
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In support of a modal shift towards rail for goods movement, a reconceptualization of urban and interurban mobility frameworks leads to the proposed infrastructural fitting for the urban periphery. Keller Easterling’s notion of Situating serves as a tool for engaging the serial aspects of the project territory in order to leverage widespread change. The intervention is born of the premise that while the ‘last mile’ of the supply chain must remain predominantly road based, the ‘second-last mile’ between concentrated distribution clusters is an opportune target for modal shifting initiatives. Towards this end the thesis envisions alternative, elaborated templates for distribution cluster design which optimize instrumental capacity as well as generate new performative possibilities through the conflation of productive, consumptive, and logistical activities. The hybridized type is demonstrated on a greenfield, industrial zoned site in the outer fringes of the Greater Toronto Area. Standard warehouse morphologies are retooled to serve the unfolding trends of agglomeration and just-in-time delivery while functioning as revolutionized, streamlined terminals of inland intermodal exchange. A unique urban condition is created where the freight-intensive logistics cluster interfaces a transit-supportive arterial corridor in the surrounding suburban fabric. Here, a thickened seam is developed to engage pedestrian-scaled experience, offer richness through surprising functional juxtaposition, and capitalize on the potentials for efficient local connections to regional distribution agents.