Live-Work-Play-Dispatch: Designing for E-Commerce

What You'll Learn

  • Understand technology changes with logistics and deliveries, examining trends pre–COVID-19 and potential scenarios with recovery.
  • Evaluate the challenges and benefits of the new delivery landscape at the national and local scales, with attention to retail, mixed use, and housing.
  • Learn to anticipate potential changes in policy, infrastructure, transportation, and urban design as e-commerce evolves.

More Course Details

While planners are paying more attention to how online shopping is impacting retail, recent events highlight how supply chain disruption is affecting community planning and design. Changes were already underway before COVID-19: (1) UPS's first formal certification from the FAA for package deliveries; (2) Amazon's patent for delivery drones that fulfill orders while in motion; (3) Toyota's concept vehicles that reconfigure throughout the day; (4) George Mason University's deliverybots for student meals; and (5) Target's use of physical stores for warehousing and same-day pick up.

COVID-19 is revealing new trends as delivery robots help minimize workers' exposures in health care, fulfillment, and transit operations.

As operations scale, changes will upend many planning routines and assumptions in zoning, use permits, traffic circulation, infrastructure allocation, employment, and municipal finance. What are economic scenarios and related impacts on traffic, land use, and jobs? What is the acceptable number of delivery drones allowed on sidewalks and in the air? What is the fiscal impact of moving warehousing and retail to distributed locations and vehicles? How will warehouse workers get to work sites?

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