Alex Klatskin on shipping containers

The Five Thousand Pound Life: Land, Spatial Logistics (Part 1)

September 26, 2014

In the first presentation of the Spatial Logistics panel, Alex Klatskin illustrates the physical manifestation of logistics on the landscape through the lens of waterfront container terminals and inland intermodal centers. He demonstrates the significance of the shipping container as not only the dominant mode of transporting goods but also a means of delivering infrastructure to places without any, beginning with the delivery of over 150,000 containers of supplies to American soldiers during the Vietnam War. Through the lens of historic and current trade routes, Klatskin shows how climate change has affected the distribution of goods — with new routes, such as the Northwest Passage, now navigable due to ice cap melting — and people — with locations like the remote coast of Greenland now habitable and open to development. He argues that we should “preserve” and “revere” our logistical landscapes, noting how waterfront container terminals will provide crucial storage capacity and impact attenuation during a storm event.

Alex Klatskin is a General Partner of Forsgate Industrial Partners, a private industrial real estate development and investment firm based in Teterboro, New Jersey.

The Five Thousand Pound Life: Land was a symposium on rethinking land and its value in light of climate change organized by The Architectural League and co-sponsored by The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design in September 2014.

The Spatial Logistics panel invited an industrial real estate developer and two designers and academics to unpack the spatial dimensions of the sometimes hidden networks of logistics and debate their consequences — the good, bad, and unknown — for design and society.