With the development of global logistical systems to coordinate the movement of goods, cities around the world are being reconceived as nodes in circuits of commodity capital. These efforts are reshaping urban environments and provoking novel forms of political resistance. They are also bringing distant places and subjects into new relations of interaction and interdependence. This article traces the web of urban change and contestation that has taken shape around the expansion of the Panama Canal, an infrastructure megaproject with reverberations that have been felt in port cities throughout the Americas. Drawing on research conducted in the Panama City, Los Angeles, and New York City areas, I examine efforts to remake urban space in the name of smooth, efficient circulation—what I call supply-chain urbanism—and the struggles that have ensued over land, labor, and environments. The concept of supply-chain urbanism calls attention to the life-damaging impacts of goods movement on communities and workers, impacts that are unevenly distributed across space, race, and class. Crucially, it also underscores the connections between seemingly disparate episodes of urban change and resistance. Beyond shedding light on emerging forms of logistics-based urbanization, the article illustrates the value of relational methodologies for the study of networked urban dynamics. In disclosing the wider forces, processes, and flows that connect far-flung experiences of urban transformation and struggle, such approaches can apprehend the interlinked character of contemporary urbanization processes in ways that purely local perspectives cannot.
Danyluk, M. (2021). Supply-Chain Urbanism: Constructing and Contesting the Logistics City. Annals of the American Association of Geographers. https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2021.1889352