Cities bring people, technology and ideas together; they are places of activity and innovation. For centuries European cities were places of industry and creation, as well as places of trade and service. But over the last 50 years, as technology and society changed and we increasingly moved to producing goods overseas, the manufacturing activities taking place in European urban centres have faced change and decline.
The cities of today face social, environmental and economic opportunities and challenges: in new forms of technology and business models, in increasing pressure from climate change and resource issues, and in changing demographics. Despite the changes in their manufacturing sectors, making in cities is still significant and new trends and technologies are renewing interest. We see new opportunity for manufacturing to re-emerge in European cities, and envision a future where it plays a key role in supporting urban communities to flourish in the way they live and work.
Cities of Making (ERA-NET ENSUF funded project) is a 30 month project which will explore opportunities for strengthening urban based manufacturing in European cities. Using a combination of strategic and action research, our ambition is to identify what works in supporting a resilient and innovative industrial base, and to test those solutions in a real-world setting. We will learn from experiences in London, Rotterdam and Brussels – each with a distinct industrial heritage. By the end of the project we will have developed ideas, practices and policies focusing on public authorities (and many other relevant stakeholders) to breathe new life into their manufacturing communities.
Organisation/project partners. Brussels Enterprises Commerce and Industry, Latitude Platform for Urban Research and Design, Technical University of Delft, The RSA, l’Université libre de Bruxelles, University College London, Vrije Universiteit Brussel.