ARC / Connect

Food Truck Intervention

06.13.12 / Minna Koo, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Gourmet food trucks are making a comeback recently on the foodie-scene and are sighted frequently around the city. You may have seen these colorful trucks selling their tasty wares on the sidewalk behind Kendall Square T station. Offering new options over and above the typical hot dog and pretzel fare, these pop-up food vendors are revitalizing the previously ‘underused’ sections of the city. Patrons can find a variety of gourmet delights from Vietnamese pho to locally-sourced vegan sandwich goodies. You can learn more about the food truck development in our neighborhood from the "Kendall Square: Food trucks" documentary below.

(Little known fact: Some of the Kendall Square food trucks have been around for more than 20 years!)

What is behind the rising popularity in these throwbacks to the meals on wheels of the 1950s? The modern day trucks have come a long way from their sometimes sketchy and ma-and-pa type of ancestors. These new guys have taken all of the quality and flavor of an upscale restaurant and made it work in a mobile kitchen. The trucks can lend a certain unique and whimsical feel to the urban setting, while delivering high quality food.

Now the next begging question: why is this particular space so compelling to us? As a temporary urban intervention, food trucks successfully utilize a city’s unused / vacant lots by attracting epicures and extending their length of stay. As a result, these trucks help create a concentrated hub of activity during the limited time frame of their operation. A rotating core of vendors contribute to the variety of concession offerings in a given location, and the scale of the food trucks allow them to be positioned in highly trafficked hardscapes with urban vicissitudes. Despite the thoughtful streetscape planning, sometimes this kind of unplanned urban moment is what represents the best of urban life. Perhaps in the near future, we will be designing amenities to promote these impromptu actions around our new buildings.

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