Most German cities are said to have a high quality of life. The main reasons for this are good care, education, culture and recreational opportunities. However, the strong influences of logistics and industry on the quality of life are hardly considered.
The population in German cities is growing rapidly. According to calculations by the United Nations, over 75 percent of people in Germany live in urban regions. Oxford Economics data shows that the largest of them have grown faster than the rest of Germany in terms of GDP, employment and population. Because of their success, cities pose special challenges for logistics.
Urban logistics important for innovative urban economy
The networking of individual sectors is becoming an increasingly important factor for a successful economy. The Association of German Engineers (VDI) is therefore of the opinion that “instead of monofunctional operating and residential areas […] new mixed forms of life and work ensure sustainable urban development [müssen]”. The VDI believes that the production, processing and shipping of material goods must be relocated to densely populated areas. Above all, a functioning communication between the individual departments is essential. For example, cooperative logistics from various urban companies could relieve the burden on the infrastructure, which would make freight transport more efficient. The result would be a reduction in CO2 emissions. Autonomous logistics systems could be the key to success here.
City logistics is an issue in online retail
Online retail sales have more than quintupled within ten years. In 2017, more than 64 percent bought their goods online – and the trend is rising. An online survey by Colliers International shows that over 80 percent of the logistics companies surveyed are already dealing with the topic of city logistics. For them, the primary goal of city logistics is to adapt existing buildings. In addition, individual, flexible and innovative delivery concepts and processes should be integrated into the cities. There will be other requirements for this on the real estate market.
Smart cities as future projects
Smart cities are modern cities that use innovative technologies to improve the quality of life and function in harmony with the environment. In logistics, the most important thing will be the use of modern IT systems and the networking of data. Planning, implementation and control as well as an efficient flow of information and products will play an important role. A well-developed infrastructure with logistics areas, driveways and data highways also plays a key role. The Internet of Things (IoT) and big data will have to provide reliable and comprehensive connectivity for this. This is the only way that devices, vehicles and logistics buildings can work together efficiently.
Efficiency increases and alternative drive options can reduce the impact on the environment in the future. In addition, existing transport networks in cities could be used at times when there is less traffic on the streets. In combination with safer, cleaner and quieter vehicles, this would be one way to improve efficiency and reduce emissions.
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In order to be able to implement these plans, however, there must be acceptance among the urban population, administration, politics and business. Since many different interests collide in cities in a narrow space, attractive economic and living spaces can only be created through urban planning that is compatible with living conditions.
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