Foundries of the future: a guide for 21st century cities of making


This book is the fruit of the Cities of Making project, translating experiences and field research that focused on three city regions: Brussels, London and Rotterdam - The Hague.


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Cities of Making was developed by seven organisations over the course of almost three years: The RSA, Latitude Platform for Urban Research and Design; Brussels Enterprises Commerce and Industry (BECI); Technical University of Delft (TU Delft); l’Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB); University College London (UCL); and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).

This book is intended as a manual to accompany anyone interested in exploring or working with urban manufacturing and is split into two parts. 

The first part covers an abridged history of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, noting how European cities evolved rapidly by harnessing manufacturing, and then how the late twentieth century led to a radical shift in how cities work and think. It elaborates a narrative on how urban manufacturing responds to four specific challenges facing cities and how in turn manufacturing needs cities.

In practice, planning and design for a topic like this is highly challenging. The second part of the book is therefore intended as a handbook.

The final section sets out twelve key action areas as possible starting points for supporting urban manufacturing.

Download or order the book


Picture of Josie Warden
Head of Regenerative Design

Related reports

  • Cities of Making

    The purpose of this report is to initiate and inform debate about the future of manufacturing in European cities. It does this by providing insight into the past, present and potential future roles of manufacturing in the cities of Brussels, London and Rotterdam.