The Last Mile

Harshwardhan Saini

Civic Futures


Bryan Boyer


Convenience has become the industry norm for retail, with phrases such as “Delivery to your doorstep” and “Same-day delivery” becoming commonplace. This has led to the rise of many corporate giants such as Amazon, Alibaba, Flipkart, eBay and others who master logistics to capture private profits.

But the downside of those private business models is paid for by the public at large. The number of trucks entering New York city from these logistic facilities has created an issue that has not helped the residents of the city and the service providers themselves. Sorting of the packages on the roads and sidewalks is a common practice amongst the delivery providers, blocking bike lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks. An alternative must be adopted that accommodates the importance and convenience of daily logistics while working in favour of the neighbourhoods and their public spaces.

The last mile neighbourhood level distribution centre located in East Village which processes all packages coming and going from the neighbourhood. It operates as a cooperatively owned facility. The project demonstrates how a community may take charge of their localized logistics and enhance neighbourhood quality. Inbound packages for the entire neighbourhood are received at the facility in one large shipment (freight truck) at a time of the day when the traffic is the least, thereafter the packages are sorted for local delivery via delivery bots. Lifted above the logistic centre are the community greenhouses which operate as part of the corporative. The Last Mile asks us to speculate about the possibility of logistics as a community institution and a new architectural typology for the city.