Should U.S. Manufacturers Scale Down In Order To Grow?

The U.S. is regaining ground as a manufacturing powerhouse, but the goods we’re producing and way in which they’re produced have taken on a new shape– a much smaller one. Instead of large factories that could take up a city block for the production of steel, textiles, and complete automobiles, America is becoming known for its ability to produce small sensors, medical devices, and nanoscale goods. This has changed what we think of as a manufacturing landscape and opened up the potential for urban areas and cities to become major manufacturing hubs. However, our current cities may not be able to host such development at the pace some are pushing. 

“If cities have an opportunity to import new, smaller, cleaner manufacturers, however, politicians and planners in many cities will still have difficult decisions to make about precisely where to place them, and on what terms. Many cities could experience a new round in ‘the conflict between commerce and housing,’…”

It’s important to ask whether more manufactures should scale down their production to exist, unobtrusively, and thrive within the modern American city, or if we should be modifying and developing urban areas to meet with a future based in prosperous U.S. manufacturing.

Tell us what you think in the comments.   

3 thoughts on “Should U.S. Manufacturers Scale Down In Order To Grow?

  1. In some ways this makes sense but I think if I had a business degree it would be easier to answer this from a business stand point. Keep up the good work I am sure that there are plenty of people that will be answering your post real soon. Thank you for putting this together it poses some really good questions.

  2. I am sure that title of your blog through some people off but I am sure that there are those that understand and agree with you. In order to get your sales to go up sometimes you have to down size and show that you really care about your clients or customers. The bigger companies lose site of that and start losing customers as well.

  3. The renewal of manufacturing is not an abstract economic issue: It is very much an urban issue. American manufacturing, for instance, rose in cities, and those cities grew around industries from automakers to steelmakers to textiles. Today, with innovation-based manufacturers helping to spur a revival in the sector, the geography of manufacturing is again at stake: Can new manufacturing fit in with the ongoing evolution of cities, and if so, how? That question was at the heart of an MIT symposium, which I read about, that highlighted distinctly promising news about manufacturing, and distinct challenges for urban planners. The promise is that many varieties of high-tech manufacturing have emerged in recent years, in areas including nanotechnology, medical devices, advanced materials, and digital production. Those industries often take smaller-scale forms that could be adapted to existing urban spaces, helping to revitalize cities.

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