Tagged: e-commerce

Research Briefs

While the Urbanism Next blog presents a compilation of research and articles from a variety of sources, we are also conducting our own research.  This page includes a series of papers on issues related to Urbanism Next.  The intention is to introduce you to some key topics that will be affecting how cities develop as they face ongoing and transformative changes in technology.

 

Urbanism Next Framework (Urbanism Next) One of the key challenges to addressing the impacts of emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles, e-commerce and the sharing economy on cities is understanding the range of areas affected and how these areas are related. This draft Urbanism Next Framework organizes impacts based on four key areas – land use, urban design, transportation, and real estate – and relates those to the implications they will have on equity, health, the environment, the economy, and governance. This framework can help organize both city responses and research about emerging technology impacts.

 

Policy Brief: AVs in the Pacific Northwest: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in a Time of Automation (Howell, Larco, Lewis, and Steckler) summarizes the key takeaways from New Mobility in the Right-of-Way and AVs in the Pacific Northwest. (Both reports are included below.) This policy brief outlines our main findings and includes a series of process/procedural and policy recommendations for cities to consider as they adopt new mobility plans and enable automated vehicles.

 

 

New Mobility in the Right-of-Way (Howell, Larco, Lewis, and Steckler) explores the ways in which demand for the right-of-way, broadly, but the curb, more specifically, is changing. The curb has long been in high demand with multiple users vying for limited space, especially for the purposes of parking personal vehicles. However, TNCs and other services have helped to usher in a new age that involves an increased demand for short-term loading and micromobility device parking. AVs will likely exacerbate existing issues with the right-of-way and the curb, which is why it is important that cities tackle curb management in new ways. This report categorizes and summarizes efforts that are already underway in cities across the world to rethink curb management and identifies major research gaps. New Mobility in the Right-of-Way summarizes the second phase of research from a project involving the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance at the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (CNCA/USDN) and the cities of Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; and Vancouver, BC, and was generously supported by the Bullitt Foundation.

 

AVs in the Pacific Northwest: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in a Time of Automation (Larco, Howell, Lewis, and Steckler). The policy decisions made over the next 10 years that shape the deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs) will have significant repercussions for our communities as well as environmental repercussions related to greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change. In recognition of that, Urbanism Next worked with the cities of Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, BC to better understand how new mobility technologies such as AVs could affect greenhouse gas emissions thereby impacting their ability to achieve the goals in their respective climate action plans. This project grew out of a partnership between the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance at the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (CNCA/USDN) and the Cities of Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver and was generously supported by the Bullitt Foundation.

 

Rethinking Streets in an Era of Driverless Cars (Schlossberg, Riggs, Millard-Ball and Shay) presents ideas about how city planners, policy makers and community residents can address the introduction of autonomous vehicles. This white paper frames the introduction of AVs as an opportunity to rethink streets with purposeful and creative consideration about how this critical public good may best serve the public for generations to come.

 

 

The Impact of AVs and E-Commerce on Local Government Budgeting and Finance (Clark, Larco and Mann) is a new report from us here at Urbanism Next/SCI that takes you through a city’s budget —both revenues and expenditures — and describes the areas that will be affected as AVs become commonplace and e-commerce takes on an even larger role in retail. City leaders have to start planning for this future now if they want to have a voice in what AVs/e-commerce will do to their cities.

 

 

Re-Imagining Retail (Carlson and Larco) builds on earlier posts about the challenges retail is currently facing, we look at the transformation retail is currently going through and the shift from brick-and-mortar, to e-commerce, to omnichannel approaches.  The paper describes trends and includes data and resources that can help you understand where we are at, where we are heading, and where you can learn more.

 

 

 

Warehousing (Carlson and Larco) looks at the changing nature of distribution networks with the rise of E-Commerce and the effects this will have on the size, number and distribution of Warehouses in cities.

 

Urbanism Next Research Papers Series – Re-Imagining Retail

While we have been compiling research and articles on this blog for the last few months, we have also been working on our own research.  Today marks the start of our publishing a series of brief papers on issues related to Urbanism Next.  The intention is to introduce you to some key topics that will be affecting how cities develop as they face ongoing and transformative changes in technology.

The first paper is co-written by Galen Carlson and Nico Larco and is focused on Re-Imagining Retail.  Building on earlier posts about the challenges retail is currently facing, we look at the transformation retail is currently going through and the shift from brick-and-mortar, to e-commerce, to omnichannel approaches.  The paper describes trends and includes data and resources that can help you understand where we are at, where we are heading, and where you can learn more.

Look for additional papers on residential preferences, warehousing, and the effects of urbanism next issues on municipal budgets – coming in the coming weeks.

Mall Foreclosures Up 11% – Due in Part to E-Commerce

Mall foreclosures continue to rise as retailers face more and more competition from E-commerce and a large rush away from enclosed malls.  Many owners are letting their loans default instead of trying to restructure as they see no easy future in a shifting economy.

These declining/failing properties not only cause problems for tenants, but also for the surrounding properties.  “If a mall closes or goes into decline, you’re going to see declining property values in the area,” commented Arthur C. Nelson, professor of Urban Planning and Real Estate Development at the University of Arizona. “The mall is a marker.”

One of the early casualties in the shift to E-commerce.

Warehouses Will Be Everywhere

As we continue to trend towards e-commerce and a range of delivery methods for products, warehouses – one of the key infrastructure elements of delivery – are going to both shift and proliferate.  A report from Colliers looks at these shifts broadly, but pertinent to this blog, there are sections on First Mile and Last Mile of delivery that outline the changes we will be seeing in the built environment.  Some takeaways:

  • Large consolidation of distribution facilities is happening as this facilitates logistics and the implementation of automation
  • Due to this consolidation, the size of facilities is greatly increasing – ‘First Mile’ facilities (these are distributions centers that are first accepting parcels from suppliers)  greater than 1 million square feet are becoming more commonplace. — Picture a single facility as large as 4-5 New York City blocks or 16-20 Portland blocks.
  • ‘Last Mile’ facilities (distribution centers that ship directly to customers) – on the other hand are locating in order to shorten and speed up final deliveries.  This is leading to smaller distribution centers (50-75,000 square feet) scattered around urban areas.

A great graphic that shows the complexity of new shopping and delivery methods is below.  Many forms of delivery and each has its own land use and transportation implications.

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E-Commerce?? – Depends on What you Are Shopping For

A new study in Transportation Research Record by Zhen et al. looks at the relationship between online versus in-store shopping based on the types of good you are shopping for.  Based on a survey of shoppers in Nanjing, China, they differentiate between experiential goods (ones with “traits that cannot be determined until the product is used” – such as clothing) and search goods (ones  “that consumers can ascertain fully before use” – such as electronics).  Unsurprisingly, they found more online purchasing happening with search goods than exchange goods.  A few other takeaways:

  • Cost consciousness is related to lower in-store clothing and electronics purchases
  • Shopping enjoyment increases in-store purchases for daily goods, but not for electronics – so “a particular shopping attitude does not always affect purchasing behavior for different products in the same way.”
  • More education is related to less in-store shopping and more online shopping for books and clothing

In terms of the effect on the overall transportation system, the results are not clear cut.  They state that “If returns of unsatisfactory products and freight transportation are considered, online purchasing generates even more travel demand. Therefore, transportation planners should expect growing challenges associated with the proliferation of Internet sales.”

E-Commerce: Brick-and-Mortar Slide Continues – 12% Drop in Store Trips This Past Holiday

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal documents the continued rise of e-commerce coupled with the inevitable slide of brick-and-mortar stores.  A few key numbers:

  • Overall, online holiday sales increased by 11% over the previous year while brick-and-mortar sales increased only 2.7%
  • JC Penny brick-and-mortar sales dropped by nearly 1% while its online sales grew by double digits.
  • Amazon was the clear leader in online sales with 38% of all online revenue

Probably the most striking number for the subject of this blog, brick-and-mortar shopping traffic (as in the number of times people went into stores) declined by 12%.  That number – if it continues – will inevitably lead to a drop in the amount of brick-and-mortar stores and major shifts in land use and transportation demand.  This will potentially also decrease the vitality and activity around commercial areas.

E-Commerce and the End of Department Stores…

Macy’s and Sears are closing stores throughout the country (250 stores in total) as trends continue to push against traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers.  While nobody suggests bricks-and-mortar will completely disappear, this is yet another step in the continuing shift away from traditional retail.  Previously considered anchor tenants that drove (almost literally) shoppers to large malls, the retail landscape has shifted towards smaller, more nimble, and often e-commerce linked retail.  This will have large implications on the amount of retail in the country, its distribution, and the size of parcels/spaces.  From recent discussions we have been having with industry experts, it seems that a quality sort is just beginning, where size and location of retail may start to give way to quality of experience and place.

The Amazon impact – more delivery trips and person-less stores

As online shopping continues to become commonplace, so do the number of delivery trucks delivering those goods directly to consumers, rather than centralized stores.  While there clearly is convenience in this approach, the increase in delivery vehicles on our streets is significant as 10-30% of the time the same package must be delivered more than once because no one is home and many goods are also returned this same way.  The space of our streets is limited – can space-efficient forms of transportation such as bicycles be designed into the center of urban delivery systems?

And at the other end of the spectrum, Amazon is experimenting with personnel-free shopping in urban areas where goods can be purchased without the help of a cashier at all – whether human or self-service machine.  This type of technology may have dual effects on the future of cities – there may be lower need for space for employee parking  (there are none), but what might it mean for cities to lose part of its entry-level workforce option?

Online Shoppers Outnumber In-Store Customers

In the continuing trend of the growing online shopping market-share, online shoppers (109 million) outpaced in-store shoppers (99 million) on Black Friday this year.  Some of these shoppers actually did both on the same day, but the data shows a significant increase in online shopping activity from last year (2015: 103 million online and 102 million in-store).  Actual expenditures online also surged ahead to $3.34 billion – a 21.6% increase over last year. And this does not include the online shopping high point of Cyber Monday that is happening today.

As we have discussed in previous posts, this trend – if it continues – will lead to a significant change in the number, location, and design of bricks-and-mortar stores.  A large change to the organization of cities and the ways we live in them.

AV’s, E-Commerce and Retail

This article talks about how the combination of AV’s and E-Commerce will create havoc for the retail industry.  More of our shopping will go online while bricks and mortar stores will start to act more like distribution warehouses as AV’s are sent to run errands and pick up things we need.  This will have large implications for how retail works in urban areas – where it is located, how much of it we need built, and a shift (already occurring) from retail being based on a need to retail being proposed as an experience.

Large implications for activity centers throughout urbanized areas as many of them have retail as a core vitality generator.

Welcome to Urbanism Next.

The Urbanism Next Blog is focused on how changes in technology are reshaping the ways we live, move, and spend our time in cities.  We are interested in emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles (AV’s), the rise of E-Commerce, and the proliferation of the sharing economy.  While other parts of the blogosphere are looking at the technological aspects of these advances, we are interested in the effects the they will have on cities and city design.

Urbanism Next is meant to be a source for those interested in technology and the built environment and is particularly targeted towards urban designers, architects, planners, landscape architects, and developers.  Visit the blog for links to relevant articles, commentaries on emerging trends, and critical thinking around the future of our cities.

The Urbanism Next Blog is part of the Sustainable Cities Initiative’s (SCI) Urbanism Next Research Initiative at the University of Oregon.

About

Advances in technology such as the advent of autonomous vehicles (AVs), the rise of E-commerce, and the proliferation of the sharing economy are having profound effects not only on how we live, move, and spend our time in cities, but also increasingly on urban form and development itself. The University of Oregon’s Urbanism Next Center focuses on the ramifications of these changes. Researchers are working with leaders from the public, private, and academic sectors across North America and Europe to better understand the secondary impacts of emerging technologies on cities and ensure that governments from the local to federal level have the information they need to make informed decisions that improve equity and health outcomes, as well as help achieve community goals related to the economy and the environment.

Urbanism Next is meant to be a source for those interested in technology and the built environment and is particularly targeted towards urban designers, architects, planners, landscape architects, and developers. The Urbanism Next Blog is part of the Sustainable Cities Initiative’s (SCI) Urbanism Next Research Center at the University of Oregon. Visit the blog for links to relevant articles, commentaries on emerging trends, and critical thinking around the future of our cities.

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