Can the Inland Empire be the foundation for a circular city?

Shorter delivery times are a general demand. If products need to be closer to the people, one option is to bring the warehouses into the city, which I explored in last week’s post. A second option would be to build cities over warehouse districts. 

Think multilayered Chicago, in which elevated roads became the new public ground. We can do the same with warehouse districts, which have already brought utilities and jobs to the area. All we are missing is a multifamily layer and a new public ground.  

Can warehouses be the underground levels of our future cities? 

There are benefits beyond having our “One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer” delivered on the same day. We’d have an opportunity for a truly circular economy. With this hybrid city, we reduce the need for transportation of all things.

Everything would be grown, produced, and even broken down under the public ground: food, goods, services, and even waste. 

The warehouse city gets us closer to a circular economy, or circular city, the ultimate level of urban efficiency. Efficiency is important because it translates to cost savings, innovation, and even affordability.

What is a circular city?

A circular economy is when everything is a resource, even waste. In most cities, waste is a product; hence waste management is a lucrative business. However, today, this waste product gets placed in a waste burial ground instead of becoming something else. 

In a circular economy, with warehouses under our cities, waste would be a resource and turned into energy for the buildings above, soil for landscaping, and even new products.

Why did I write this?

Last week I read this LA Times article covering Inland Empire and the warehouse takeover. The article has an opposing point of view on the growing warehouse landscape. James Breeze, the Global Head of Industrial and Logistics Research at CBRE responded on LinkedIn “One thing in common is the writer never proposes an alternative.”

I took the challenge of thinking about alternative and optimistic futures for these warehouse districts.

More will be revealed,

Olivia Ramos is the CEO of Deepblocks, an AI-powered software that automates the process of site selection for developers and investors. 

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Author Olivia Ramos
Founder and CEO of Deepblocks, holds master's degrees in Architecture from Columbia University and Real Estate Development from the University of Miami. Her achievements before Deepblocks include designing Big Data navigation software for the Department of Defense's DARPA Innovation House and graduating from Singularity University's Global Solutions and Accelerator programs.