Key Warehouse Centers Challenge Distribution Center Expansion

Communities near major e-commerce distribution centers are increasingly resisting new construction, citing air pollution and other public health impacts.

1 minute read

August 16, 2022, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Southern California communities that have for decades borne the brunt of pollution caused by the logistics industry are putting moratoriums on warehouse construction. As Ngai Yeung and Augusta Saraiva write for Bloomberg CityLab, “Calls for more stringent environmental monitoring in warehousing areas -- disproportionately home to communities of color -- have grown louder as supply-chain chaos pushed shipping and logistics issues to the top of the agenda in Southern California.”

The opposition to new construction is putting pressure on e-commerce companies that are seeing growing demand for warehouse space—1 million square feet for every $1 billion in additional online sales, according to CBRE Group Inc. Vacancy in the Inland Empire is down to 0.4 percent, with 40 million square feet of distribution centers already under construction.

The region, through which most goods imported via the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach pass on their way to destinations farther afield, has the nation’s highest ozone pollution levels. According to the article, “The moratoriums have allowed communities to explore emission-reduction initiatives, including proposals to redesign truck routes, restrict the size of warehouses and rezone some neighborhoods to create warehouse districts.”

Monday, August 15, 2022 in Bloomberg CityLab

View of small-town street with brick buildings and cars parked in diagonal parking with string lights going across street in Cleveland County, Oklahoma.

Norman, Oklahoma Eliminates Parking Mandates

The city made a subtle, one-word change that frees up developers to build parking based on actual need and eliminates costly unnecessary parking.

September 14, 2023 - Next City

Few passengers waiting in subway station with multiple platforms and "North Station" signs in Boston, Massachusetts

Boston Transit Riders Report Safety Concerns

Almost three-quarters of current and former riders report feeling unsafe while using MBTA services.

September 18, 2023 - Hoodline

View of Boston from Bunker Hill with statue in foreground

Boston to Begin Zoning Code Update, Mayor Announces

It’s been nearly 60 years, but the city of Boston is finally ready to do a comprehensive rewrite of its zoning code.

September 14, 2023 - The Boston Globe

Aerial view of large warehouses in Southern California with hills in background.

California Air Regulators to Crack Down on Warehouses

Truck traffic to and from Southern California warehouses accounts for as much pollution as refineries, power plants, and other industrial polluters combined.

September 22 - Los Angeles Times

Close-up of bioswale drain with pebbles and various small plants with water running through.

FEMA Climate Resilience Loans Target Small Communities

A new loan program reduces the bureaucratic hurdles to implementing small-scale climate adaptation projects.

September 22 - Grist

Silver and red WMATA public bus at station in Washington, D.C.

D.C. Delays Bus Lane Enforcement

The program using cameras to ticket drivers who block bus lanes was scheduled to begin this week.

September 22 - DCist