Made in Place: A Renaissance for Small Manufacturers

Economic developers are rightly excited about the prospects of restoring America’s manufacturing prowess.  These industries provide good jobs, good careers, and good spin-off business opportunities throughout the supply chain.  They can also contribute mightily to urban revitalization.  That’s a core message from the new Smart Growth America report:  Made In Place:  Small-scale Manufacturing and Neighborhood Revitalization.   The study reports on the prospects for small manufacturers operating in urban neighborhoods and business districts.  There’s been a boom in this sector in recent years, thanks to sectors like brewing, distilling, baking, and crafts people.   These entrepreneurs bring huge benefits to neighborhoods.  In addition to providing jobs and paying taxes, they repurpose old buildings, revitalize street life, and help build a more diverse and inclusive business community.  The study also reports on field work in four urban locations:  Knoxville, TN; Lowell, MA; Twin Falls, ID; and Youngstown, OH.  The report offers great tips and ideas for jumpstarting manufacturing activity in your town, and it’s well worth a read.   (DISCLOSURE:  I served as an outside technical advisor on this report.)