AIA New York Releases “Delivering the Goods: NYC Urban Freight in the Age of E-Commerce”

December 1, 2022

NEW YORK CITY, December 1, 2022 – The American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) has released Delivering the Goods: NYC Urban Freight in the Age of E-Commerce. The inter-disciplinary document, developed by a taskforce of planners, designers, architects, academics, and traffic engineers led by the AIANY Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the AIANY Planning and Urban Design Committee, and the AIANY Committee on the Environment, outlines the impacts of urban freight on New York City and offers innovative and equitable solutions to counter the burdens imposed on communities by the movement of goods in the city.

The Challenges of Urban Freight
Each year, 365 million tons of freight move through the New York City area. While this flow of goods brings many economic benefits, it also gives rise to complex challenges, especially at the middle-mile and last-mile segments of the delivery supply chain, contributing to traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, public health and safety issues, and the degradation of our public spaces.

The explosive growth of e-commerce and the corresponding increased demand for ever-faster deliveries has exacerbated these impacts, which are often concentrated in the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. In addition, New York City’s unique spatial conditions—its island geography, high density, and aging, constricted infrastructure—create further distortions and inefficiencies in its delivery networks. As negative impacts continue to intensify, the need for a coordinated, forward-thinking, and well-calibrated solution set has become even more imperative.

The Document
To address these intensifying issues, the taskforce interviewed a broad range of stakeholders and held listening sessions to understand best practices approaches in other cities as well as local community, industry, and agency perspectives.

The resulting publication documents current-state goods movement scenarios in New York City and presents a series of prototypes, developed with Stantec, illustrating opportunities to improve land use and curb management. The approach places special consideration on “the Interface”—the spaces of greatest impact where goods movement intersects with place-making, where public meets private, and where transportation overlaps with land use. The document concludes with a set of recommendations—some short-term and easier to implement, some longer-term and more visionary—that lay out a vision of how to transform goods movement in the city over the coming decades.

“As cities wrestle with a dramatically increasing volume of goods and freight post-COVID, planning for our shared public right of way becomes even more critical,” said Margaret Newman, Practice Leader, Urban Places + Smart Mobility, Stantec. “Delivering the Goods provides hope for the future in the context of New York City, outlining an inter-disciplinary design perspective and innovative strategies to manage and enhance our hard-won public realm.”

“The strategies in Delivering the Goods address sustainability in urban freight logistics, highlighting the importance of a properly designed network of consolidation sites and micro-hubs that support smaller, greener vehicles,” said Sandra Rothbard, AICP, Principal and Founder, Freight Matters. “Such a system would decrease large, dirty vehicles on the road and improve traffic flows, air quality, and safety, all while making deliveries more efficient.”

“AIA New York is proud to have convened this knowledgeable taskforce to tackle the pressing issues that impact the quality of our city’s public realm as we reimagine a post-COVID future,” said Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA, Executive Director, AIA New York | Center for Architecture. “Delivering the Goods advances the chapter’s goal to help build a more equitable and just city, centering on solutions that resolve the environmental, health, safety, and quality-of-life burdens imposed by urban freight operations on our neighborhoods.”

Visit AIA New York’s website to access the full publication.

About AIA New York
AIA New York is the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects with more than 5,500 architect, allied professional, student, and public members. AIANY is dedicated to three goals: design excellence, public outreach and professional development.


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