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Logistical Urbanism: The Space of Food
Primary Advisor: Brendan Moran Secondary Advisor: Julia Czerniak Crisis City Primary Faculty: Julia Czerniak Anda French Brian Lonsway Brendan Moran Francisco Sanin
Thesis Abstract: It is my contention that food has and must continue to play an integral role in the shaping of urban landscapes and civic life in order to create a more sustainable urban society. Intensified by the linked forces of industrialization, modernization, and globalization, our rapidly expanding urban world is becoming increasingly distanced from the realities of its sustenance. Forecasting potential food crises, cities have slowly begun to invest in informal urban agriculture, regional produce markets, and higher food standards. But despite these recent initiatives, cities are still reliant on their global food infrastructures to manage the logistics of food trade. Our prior investment and current reliance on these existing infrastructures combined with the current uneven distribution of food world-wide create economic and psychological barriers that prevent new sustainable urban food systems from developing. How can these two competing and currently necessary forces be mediated in order to ensure their ultimate purpose, the sustaining of human populations? Throughout architectural and urban history the market has served as the urban space of food. Carolyn Steel author of Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives writes: For all their mess, noise and nuisance, markets bring something vital to a city: an awareness of what it takes to sustain life... Markets are contradictory spaces, but that is the point. They are spaces made by food. While there has been a rise in farmer’s markets (retail markets) in urban centers and suburbs, wholesale markets are still the dominant ‘space of food’ Inhuman in scale, often privatized, and removed . to a city’s hinterlands, wholesale food distribution markets are part of a global system of food trade that no longer bring ‘awareness’ to urban life; rather they are often the epitome of an unsustainable food system. As our cities transition towards local food sourcing and other sustainable models, how will wholesale mega-markets global economy transition to accommodate local community agricultural economies without neglecting the immediate demands of the worlds greater urban population? Additionally the recent resurgance of food interest places the industrial landscape of distribution: trucks, trains, warehouses, and refrigorators, in sharp contrast to idealized spaces of food production and food consumption. Feeding 20 million people a day New York City’s Hunt’s Point Food Distribution Center is one of the most extreme examples of a mega-market serving a city’s entire urban population. Expanding since its 1967 genesis Hunt’s Point now acts as a food campus comprising three unique markets and over 800 food related businesses. Given the market’s disconnect from the population it feeds and the neighborhood it inhabits, how can this market transform to become a productive public space for the Hunt’s Point community and/or greater New York City? How can this space of economic value gain a new cultural importance? As a member of the Crisis City Coalition, I will conduct research and share critiques amongst my classmates in hopes of producing a unique and comprehensive outlook on this urban crisis. Collaborating with other students, and with other fields, this thesis will seek to engage the economic, social, and political realities and potentials of transitioning urban food systems through a particular site. My topicdriven research will begin by examining the global food network and comparing it with the emergent sustainable local models. Additionally I intend to examine the various scales of architectural food typologies, focusing on the history of the market as the ‘space of food.’
Food System Analysis:
Spice Islands: ACH Food Companies Inc Products of Italy
San Francisco, CA, USA Processed and Packed in San Francisco the actual source of the fennel seeds are unknown. Modena, Lucca, and Puglia, Italy Purchased through Wegman’s Food Markets Inc these products were processed in Italy and shipped through Port of Authority of New York and New Jersey. Interestingly, the olive oil actually originates in Spain. Italy imports many of its food resources only to process them and export them out as Italian Products.
Norway, IA, USA Primarily sells organicly sourced seasonings and spicies. Although processed and packed in Norway, Iowa the actual source of the ingredients is unknown.
Cabot Creamery Coop.
Cabot, VT, USA A 1,200 farm family dairy cooperative with members in New England and upstate New York.
Greenwood Pl House
Syracuse, NY, USA
Wegman’s of Dewitt
Dewitt, NY, USA
Syracuse Real Food Co-op
Syracuse, NY, USA
Alambria Spring Frams
Earlville, NY, USA A small local organic csa that delivers vegtables weekly to my house in Syracuse.
Wegman’s Food Markets Inc.
Rochester, NY, USA Though processed and packeged at Wegman’s plant in Rochester, the source of the cannellini beans and the ingredients of the sausage are unknown.
Newman’s Own INC
The World Is My Dinner Plate
Westport, CT, USA A largely organic food company founded by the late Paul Newman. The source of the ingredients of the tomatoe sauce is unknown.
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Newark, NJ, USA
Map by: Nathaniel Wooten on Sept. 15, 2010 for Syracuse University class: GEO 400: Food a Critical Geography
Hunt’s Point Distribution Center Base Material
Annotated Bibliography: Food Production: Viljoen, Andrew. CPULs: Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes. Burlington, MA: Architectural Press, 2005. Print. This pioneering text sees urban agriculture as an essential element of sustainable urban infrastructure. It exhibits one of the most widely successful and critically praised visions of a more sustainable city (which happens to revolve around food). Continuous productive urban landscapes are seen as the best alternative to the current global food system. Food Consumption: Grimes, William. Appetite city : a culinary history of New York. 1st ed. New York: North Point Press, 2009. Print. Hauck-Lawson, Annie, and Jonathan Deutsch. Gastropolis : Food and New York City. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009. Print. Both of these books look at the history of food in New York City. This is critical in understanding the historical context behind the creation and sustaining of the Hunts Point Market, while also projecting on the city‘s current and past food environment and culture. Kleiman, Jordan. “Local Food and Problem of Public Authority.” Technology and Culture 50.2 (2009): 399-417. Web. 7 Oct 2010. <http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/technology_and_culture/ v050/50.2.kleiman.pdf>. Parham, Susan. “Designing the Gastronomic Quarter.” Architectural Design 2005: 86-95. Web. 1 Oct 2010. Food Distribution: Cohen, Marc J., and James L. Garret. “The food price crisis and urban food (in)security.” Human Settlements Working Paper Series: Urbanization and emerging population 2 (2009): 1-36. Web. 1 Oct 2010. Donofrio, Gregory. “Feeding the City.” Gastronomica Fall 2007: 30-41. Web. 1 Oct 2010. This text looks at the history of food distribution in the city, primarily examining the cities complex relationship to distribution markets from the ancient city to the City Beautiful Movement, to the rise of the supermarket, to the recent produce market resurgance. Franck, Karen A. “Food for the City, Food in the City.” Architectural Design May/June 2005: 35-42. Web. 1 Oct 2010. Francis, Charles; Lieblein, Geir; Steinsholt, Havard; Breland, Tor Arvid; Helenius, Juha; Sriskandarajah, Nadarajah; Salomonsson, Lennart . Food Systems and Environment: Building “ Positive Rural-Urban Linkages.” Human Ecology Review 12.1 (2005): 60-71. Web. 1 Oct 2010. <http:// www.interfacesouth.org/literature/food-systems-and-environment--building-positive-rural-urbanlinkages-3313/index_html>. Goldman, Richard H. “Food and Food Poverty: Perspectives on Distribution.” Social Reserach 66.1 (1999): 283-304. Web. 1 Oct 2010. Hamilton, Lisa M. “The American Farmers Market.” Gastronomica. Summer. (2002): 73-77. Focusing on the informal farmer’s market Hamilton question the resurgence of farmers market as an un-authentic bastardization of the traditional market it trying to emulate. Her text seeks “to transform the farmers market from a nostalgic puppet, a shadow of
the past, to a meaningful and influential institution.” Jacobs, Karrie. “Back to the Land: The hottest 21st-century urban amenity might be a farm.” Metropolis Oct 15, 2008: n. pag. Web. 2 Oct 2010. <http://www.metropolismag.com/story/20081015/back-to-theland>. “Fields of corn and soya stretching as far as the eye can see, plastic polytunnels so vast they can be seen from space, industrial sheds and feed lots full of factory-farmed animals--these are the rural hinterlands of modernity.” Koc, Mustafa, Rod MacRae, Jennifer Welsh, and Luc J. A. Mougeot. For Hunger-Proof Cities: Sustainable Urban Food Systems. Ottawa : IDRC Books, 1999. Print. Knechtel, John. Food. Alphabet City #12. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008. Print. An anthology of projects and issues that collaboratively deal with the topic of food. Like Ecological Urbanism a variety of view points and potentials are explored on the relationship of food and urbanism. Miller, Sally. Edible Action: Food Activism and Alternative Economics . Halifax, NS: Fernwood, 2008. Change and transition rely on action. This book holistically examines the actions that are currently underway to change the global food system. Shigley, Paul. “When Acces is the Issue.” Planning (2009): 26-31. Web. 1 Oct 2010. Steel, Carolyn. Hungry City: How Food Shapes Out Lives. London: Random House, 2008. Print. This book is in many ways the inspiration of this thesis. Chronologically this book looks at urban history through the lens of food, ultimately seeing the way food as shaped our civilizations (for better or worse) and how it might do so in a sustainable future. This book suggests that food and urbanism are unseperable. Urban Society: Doherty, Gareth, and Mohsen Mostafavi. Ecological Urbanism. 1st ed. Lars Muller Publishers, 2010. Print. Including specific texts and projects on food urbanism, this 600 page ‘bible’ examines an emergent mode of urbanism, in which the city is thought of as an interrelated set of processes. With an aim of a more sustainable city through architecture (built form) and its relationship to politics, economics, and social issues, this sets out a trajectory by which this thesis can navigate. Lefebvre, Henri. The Urban Revolution. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, translated 2003 (originally published in French in 1970). Following the attempts at urban revolution in the late 1960’s, Lefebvre’s early writings trace the history of city towards a global urban society, which he declares has surpassed industrialization as the primary mode of societal control and development. Capitalism/Globalization: Bauman, Zygmunt. Globalization: The Human Consequences. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 1998. Print. For Bauman globalization involves the compression of time and territory through the value of mobility. This value, harnessed through global trade as capital, is most evident (in built form) at locations of trade distribution. Harvey, David. The Enigma of Capital: and the Crises of Capitalism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print. McKibben, Bill. Eaarth: Making A Life on a Tough New Planet. New York: Times Books, 2010. Print. As the most recent comprehensive text on global climate change and ways to mitigate it, this book lays out the possibility that we are already living on a severely altered earth. The since of urgency that this book demands brings about the examination in my
project between what exists and what we know to be right, and how they might be mediated. Smith, Neil. Uneven Development: Nature, Capital, and the Production of Space. 3rd. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2008. Print. Modernity: Berman, Marshall. All That is Solid Melts Into Air : The experience of modernity. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982. Print. Latent in the global food system is the experience of modernity, by which we all participate. In examining possible transitions of the modern food system into some ‘other’, it will be helpful to look at the initial transition from which it was born. How do notions of ‘sustainability’,‘community’ , and ‘stability’ take into account the modern maelstorm. Latour, Bruno. We Have Never Been Moder. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993. Print.
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