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Feeding and fueling the city

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Feeding and fueling the city

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For a long time, urban logistics – an issue that has been around as long as cities have – was given short shrift in public discussion and initiatives. However, over the past years, urban logistics has gradually ceased to be a blind spot in urban planning and policy. First, because its effects – including congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, and dust emissions – are incompatible with cities’ aspirations with regard to environmental protection and efforts against climate change. Second, because city dwellers require both a high-quality living environment and wide consumer choice; in other words, they want ready access to products from around the world without compromising their quality of life.

So cities must take ownership of urban logistics. But how?
What are the existing interactions between our changing ways of living, consuming and producing, and the way these goods and inputs are supplied, stored and dispatched within the city?
How is this impacting the nature, the design, the usage or the sizing of urban infrastructures and spaces –whether public or private? How can we better structure and optimize the flows of goods and inputs, as well as the flows of people in a constrained space such as the city?

To answer these questions La Fabrique de la Cité launched at the beginning of 2016 a research programme named « Feeding and Fueling the City ». Three answers are provided here, in the form of scenarios. In partnership with weave.air, an innovation consulting firm specialised in design thinking, three scenarios were imagined.
These scenarios are forward-looking – some might even say utopian – but they are based on observable trends and perceptible activities in cities in Europe and the United States. Some of these trends and activities are also presented here, along with case studies of cities that most closely reflect the scenarios outlined under:
– In the « city as a hub » scenario, like a logistics hub, the city fully exploits its logistics platform potential driven by the public actor creating the necessary conditions for the mobilisation of the ecosystem consisting of the city’s actors.
– In the « city as a service » scenario, satisfying the complex expectations of city dwellers/consumers is at the heart of private actors’ logistics organisation and strategy and they benefit from a conducive environment created by the public actor.
– In the « rooted city » scenario, Exploitation of a territory’s productive potential and development of a circular economy are supported by synergies between public and private stakeholders (businesses, associations and citizens)

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La Fabrique de la Cité

La Fabrique de la Cité is a think tank dedicated to urban foresight, created by the VINCI group, its sponsor, in 2010. La Fabrique de la Cité acts as a forum where urban stakeholders, whether French or international, collaborate to bring forth new ways of building and rebuilding cities.

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