In-transit urbanism : the landscape of logistics and the time present
Author(s)Vanky, Anthony P. (Anthony Phong)
In transit urbanism
Landscape of logistics and the time present
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Arindam Dutta and Dennis Frenchman.
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Upon arrival in Memphis by air, a sign welcomes passengers to "Memphis - America's Distribution Center", a reflection of one's place in the city, and the country. Rather than a romantic reflection of the cultural heritage of the city with Elvis Presley and B.B. King, the statement places passengers not at the destination of their travels, vis a vis a "welcome to", but en route somewhere else. Memphis International Airport, identified via its aviation code "MEM", is not a place of arrival-a terminal, from "terminus", the end-but a location to be passed through-a state of being in transit or colloquially "passing through". Few passengers and goods conclude their travel here; MEM's raison d'etre is as a layover, as travelers are being distributed elsewhere as a result of the efficiency of the hub-and-spoke model of aviation. As a result, MEM is the world's busiest cargo airport. At its peak, an upwards of six flights arriving a minute carrying Apple computers, Mickey Mouse plush toys, cooking items from William-Sonoma, and the variety of other goods to and from all corners of the world destined for FedEx's so-called SuperHub. Because of the presence of such a facility, MEM has arisen as an economic capital in an improbably location within the interior of the United States replete with its own sprawling developments. MEM, as an airport city, challenges the social and cultural norms of what one considers a traditional city, as its reasons for being is the economy of moving goods and founded on the way we do business and not the way we live. This thesis proposes an urban form for MEM's surrounding city that serves as a means of regeneration of the surrounding, decaying area as well as accepts the condition of being in transit for goods and people as a primary condition of existence. In Brophy's character's words, it is an urbanism that "[perpetually remains] in the present moment, in at least semi-sempiternal transit between departure from the past and arrival in the future" and is more appropriate than the status quo within the context of MEM with regard to the transitory nature of goods, passengers and employees. The urban logic is thus a metaphor of FedEx in the transposition of technological logics, such as the flow of bodies and the interface of machine, the parcel, and the human occupant.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 2011.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 152-155).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology