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Alimentary Logistics: Planning the Food Wholesale Landscape in New York, Paris, and Mexico City

Food has become a major part of transcontinental and transoceanic networks of production, circulation, storage, and distribution.  In this way, both perishable and non-perishable foods have become woven into an interconnected web of global capitalist commodity chains.  Novel spatial and architectural forms have emerged over time to accommodate these changing food systems, from the small open-air farmers' market in the town square to the grand covered pavilions of Les Halles and the massive wholesale complexes that cropped up around the globe after World War II.  Meanwhile, technological developments in agriculture, transportation, and merchandising have led to an industrial scale transformation of our food system through factory farms, the expanding cryosphere of cold storage, petroleum-dependent haulage, conglomeration of firms,

and the rise of the supermarket.  Seasons disappear as we grow

increasingly attenuated from the origins of the food that we eat. 

This project, undertaken by Noah Allison, Victor Canno Ciboro, and

Joseph Heathcott, examines the transformations in "alimentary

logistics" over the past 200 years, with a focus on developments

since World War II in New York, Paris, and Mexico City.  By alimentary logistics, we mean the array of technologies, land forms, infrastructure, and circulations that structure the current food system.  We are especially interested in the reorganization of urban space through demolition, clearance, zoning, and relocation episodes geared toward transforming how food moves into and through cities.  Such episodes not only reveal the shifting biopolitical landscape of food, they also have consequences for who lives and works in central cities, as officials clear out working-class people and jobs from the urban core to make way for 'higher and better' uses.  Our project takes a close look at these transformations as they reshape both the global food system as well as urban spatial production in New York, Paris, and Mexico City.

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