Flow State: Designing the Logistical City


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As Amazon and other logistics-based companies further establish themselves as household names, their increasingly automated operations continue to redefine our cities and our lives. Behind faceless big-box facades, vehicles, workers and robots follow intricate choreographies to ceaselessly circulate goods.

In this talk, panel members will discuss how design can illuminate logistics—that largely opaque science of ‘moving stuff around’.

When logistics networks break down, they become visible, and their fragility is made evident—a scenario perfectly illustrated by the recent Ever Given fiasco, and even Australia’s vaccine rollout. Taking advantage of this recent visibility, the speakers at this event will shed light on an urgently important topic that, for the public, exists largely in the dark.

Sharing four of their own projects, the speakers will help to make logistics more visible, more accessible, and more public. The projects presented will outline scenarios in which logistics architectures are reimagined as sites of civic engagement and solidarity. These works will undermine the prevailing logics of efficiency, convenience, and instant gratification, instead privileging sustainability, collectivity, and care. These speculative designs present new ways to mitigate the social and environmental impacts of moving more stuff around more quickly. They also offer exciting new architectural approaches that express a kind of engineering sublime.

Wominjeka (Welcome). We acknowledge the people of the Eastern Kulin Nations as the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet. We pay our respects to the land, their ancestors and their elders—past, present and to the future.