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Future Cities and Urban Supply Chain Management


Professor Beverly Wagner

Guest edited by:

Dr Gary Graham, Dr Yang Yan, Prof. Rashid Mehmood, Prof. Bernard Burnes and Dr Anita Greenhill

Based upon initial research in Boston by the editorial team at MIT’s Centre for Transport and Logistics, on macro supply chain trends indicates that urban cities in the future (2037) could be based on decentralized rather than global production networks (which they are at present), operate with “millions of local markets” and also be self-organizing. These trends are anticipated to accelerate with the rapid advance of the digital economy (DE) (e.g. the Internet of Things, Cloud Computing paradigm and Big Data) and the advance of futuristic urban logistics and smart city designs. Katz and Bradley (2013) talk of the beginnings of a Metropolitan Revolution with cities becoming more self-organizing and characterized by re-shoring and localized driven units of output. Supply chain management research is therefore needed to understand not only the current challenges that have been identified by urban logistics scholars and supply chain futurists to be confronting cities, but also the impact of future macro supply chain trends potentially influencing all city stakeholders (producers of goods / traders (Shippers), supply chain logistics companies (freight carriers), consumer and civic authorities and civic activists in the town, state and national level.

The growth of cities and urban areas in the 21century has put more pressure on resources and conditions of urban life. This themed issue is therefore designed to build theory, knowledge and critical understanding of the new challenges being posed by the growth in cities and changing macro supply chain trends (e.g. densification, diversification, decentralization and digitization) for future city planning. A leading expert on “mega-cities”,  Dr. Edgar Blanco of MIT, has said, “We’ve been great at getting something to you. What we haven’t been so great at is getting that thing that we gave you back.  Trying to extract more value either as materials that you can recover, recycle, or maybe even to give that same product to other people after you’re done with it.”  Urban supply chain management will have a vital role in enhancing the mobility, sustainability and liveability of cities in the future. And as our society ages, hitting these targets will become increasingly important.  While the concept of car free cities is becoming more viable due to the emerging interest in future/smart cities.

The research should focus on a single question that tries to identify, appraise, select and synthesize all high quality research evidence relevant to answering the question of how urban supply chain management can support more sustainable growth and localized manufacturing/production in future city planning. The objective of this Special Issues is to present analysis of all aspects of problems and challenges faced by the supply chain within the cities from distribution to storage to congestion. We are particularly interested in research work which prototypes future supply chain visions and scenarios of city-led value production networks, traffic free cities, sustainable living environments, mobility, freight supply and storage. 

For this Call, manuscript length requirements are flexible, but to a maximum of 8,000 words (excluding references and tables).

Submission Deadline

Full paper submissions due: May 1, 2014
Final paper submission: November 15 2014

Please submit your papers to one of the guest editors listed below.

Guest Editors

Dr. Gary Graham, (Leeds), [email protected] or [email protected]
Dr Yang Yan, (MIT), [email protected]
Prof. Rashid Mehmood (King Khalid University), [email protected]
Prof. Bernard Burnes, (Stirling), [email protected]
Dr. Anita Greenhill, (Manchester), [email protected]


Abbasi, M. and Nilsson. F., (2012) Themes and Challenges in Making Supply Chains Environmentally Sustainable. Supply Chain Management: an International Journal, Vol. 17, No. 5, pp. 517-530.

Blanco, E.E. and Fransoo, J.C., (2013) “Reaching 50 million nanostores: retail distribution in emerging megacities”. TUE Working Paper – 404. January. Available at:

Brown, M. and Gomez, M., (2011) “The Impact of Urban Distribution Operations of Upstream Supply Chain Constraints”.  International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, Vol. 41, No. 9, pp. 896-912.

Caplice, C., (2013) “Strategic Issues Facing Transportation, Volume 1: Scenario Planning for Freight Transportation Infrastructure Investment”. Available at

Crainic, T. G., and Ricciardi, N., (2009) “Models for Evaluating and planning city logistics systems”,  Transportation Science, Vol. 43, No. 4, pp. 432-454.

Katz, B and Bradley, J (2013) The Metropolitan Revolution. Brookings Institution Press, New York. 

Lindholm, M. (2012) Urban Freight Transport from a Local Authority Perspective – a Literature Review, 54, Paper No 3 ISSN 1825-3997.   Available at:

Lindholm, M. (2012) “Social and Behavioural Sciences City Logistics Modelling efforts: trends and gaps – a review”, Procedia, Vol 39,  pp. 101-115.

Rossi. S., Colicchia, C., Cozzolino, A., and Christopher, M. (2013) “The Logistics Service Providers in Eco-efficiency Innovation: an Empirical Study”,  SCM: an International Journal Vol. 18, No. 6 pp. 583-603

Taniguchi, E., Thompson, R.G., Yamada, T and van Duin, R. (2001) City Logistics---Network Modelling and Intelligent Transport Systems, Pergamon, London.