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Nathaniel Wooten

ARC 505 Thesis Preparation

Crisis City:

Logistical Urbanism:

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 city. Intensified by the linked forces
of industrialization, modernization, and globalization, our rapidly growing 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 create economic and psychological barriers that prevent new sustainable urban food
systems from developing. How can these two competing and currently necessary forces be mitigated
in order to ensure their ultimate purpose, the sustaining of urban life?

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.
They are what the French Sociologist Michel Foucault called ‘heterotopia’s’: places that embrace every aspect of human existence
simultaneously, that are capable of juxtaposing in a single space several aspects of life that are ‘in themselves incompatible.’
Markets are contradictory spaces, but that is the point. They are spaces made by food.

Inhuman in scale, often privatized, and removed to a city’s hinterlands, global food distribution
markets no longer bring this ‘awareness’ to urban life; rather they are often the epitome of an unsustainable
global/urban food system. As our cities transition towards local food sourcing and other sustainable
models, how will mega-markets as logistical nodes of food distribution transition to accommodate local
community agricultural economies without neglecting the immediate demands of the worlds greater
urban population?

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. Given the market’s
disconnect from the population it feeds and the neighborhood it inhabits, how can the market transform
to become a productive public space for the Hunt’s Point community and/or greater New York City? How
can this place of economic value gain 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 topic-
driven 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.’

Innitial Images:

Spice Islands: ACH Products of Italy

Modena, Lucca, and Puglia, Italy
Food Companies Inc Purchased through Wegman’s
San Francisco, CA, USA Food Markets Inc these products
Processed and Packed in were processed in Italy and
San Francisco the actual shipped through Port of Authority
source of the fennel seeds of New York and New Jersey.
are unknown. 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.

Simply Organic
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

Local Alambria Spring Frams

Earlville, NY, USA
50 mi A small local organic csa that
delivers vegtables weekly to my
house in Syracuse.

Wegman’s Food Markets

Rochester, NY, USA
Though processed and packeged
at Wegman’s plant in Rochester, 500 mi
the source of the cannellini beans
and the ingredients of the sausage
are unknown.
Newman’s Own INC
Westport, CT, USA
A largely organic food company
founded by the late Paul Newman.
The source of the ingredients of the

The World Is
tomatoe sauce is unknown.

My Dinner Plate
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
Annotated Bibliography:

Bauman, Zygmunt. Globalization: The Human Consequences. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 1998.
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.

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.

Doherty, Gareth, and Mohsen Mostafavi. Ecological Urbanism. 1st ed. Lars Muller Publishers, 2010.
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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.