Urbanism Next: Warehousing

Urbanism Next: Warehousing

Today, warehouses are transforming into massive “mega-distribution centers” located in increasingly suburban areas. However, the rapid delivery expectations of E-commerce will also perpetuate the need for a network of local, smaller-scale supply points.

Key findings

Historically, warehouses tended to be smaller buildings located near central business districts. However, the size and location of warehouses in the U.S. is rapidly changing toward massive "mega-distribution centers" located in predominantly suburban areas.

This shift is being caused by advances in warehousing technology that are only cost-effective when implemented at a large scale. The rise of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology will continue this trend towards mega-distribution centers, as will e-commerce trends.

The rapid globalization of the supply chain will also affect distribution strategies, suggesting a possible return to warehouse locations with access to a maritime port.

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