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The Problem with Feeding CitiesThe Social Transformation of Infrastructure, Abundance, and Inequality in America$
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Andrew Deener

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226702919

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226702919.001.0001

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The Rise and Fall of the Urban Middlemen

The Rise and Fall of the Urban Middlemen

Chapter:
(p.21) Two The Rise and Fall of the Urban Middlemen
Source:
The Problem with Feeding Cities
Author(s):

Andrew Deener

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226702919.003.0002

This chapter examines the rise and fall of the urban wholesale system. At the turn of the twentieth century, policy and business leaders, including wholesalers, reached out beyond the local environment to increase food supplies for large city centers. They pieced together precarious supply chains and distribution channels for handling perishable objects. Yet these market-makers faced recurring problems adjusting to changing retail, storage, and transportation, leading to their eventual marginalization. By the 1950s, a new distribution infrastructure and profit-making conventions were materializing around a different land-use array of residence, industry, and transportation. Downtown wholesale markets were labeled as “business slums” and were eventually razed. Wholesalers, embedded in the new distribution landscape, realigned their priorities from feeding cities to feeding regions.

Keywords:   wholesale markets, decentralization, suburbanization, transportation, regional planning

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