About CoM


Cities of Making explores opportunities for strengthening urban based manufacturing in European cities following years of decline and offshoring. 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.

Objectives, project goals and planned results.

We aim to define the key leverage points that public services in Europe can use to re-industrialise urban areas. This is focused on three main research streams: materials and technology, spatial conditions and transition planning strategies. While find these themes to be significant leverage points, we also recognise and will respond to broader drivers/inhibitors of re-industrialisation, such as: infrastructure, skills, taxation and macroeconomic conditions. Our research base focuses on three European cities, however we aim to describe findings that can be scaled up across Europe and beyond. The transferability will further be tested inviting also current project partners of related EU projects of the main partners, as H2020 “Repair”, to the Wp3 workshops. We will ensure the project remains relevant through ongoing stakeholder engagement (based on successful methods developed within the team), public outreach/communications and regular interaction within the team (face-to-face knowledge exchange). Examples of stakeholders range from local authority planning officers, development organisations, regeneration groups, councillors and elected officials, waste management officials, educators within higher and further education, architects and urban planners, waste management teams, and private-public sector business groups (such as project partner BECI in Brussels).

City level diagnosis for re-industrialisation. Using three cities (Brussels, London and Rotterdam) we firstly aim to have a better understanding of existing urban industry, local policy priorities, a scan of public actors operating in this space, data on available materials , urban capacity to deal with new industry and the development of innovative new projects. We will produce reports (for the three cities and a global trend analysis) for comparative analysis and foundation for the rest of the project.

Leverage points for re-industrialisation.

Focusing on three key research tracks (governance, materials/technology and buildings/space) we aim to dig deeper into the building blocks that could catalyse change. Although this will be orientated to the needs of the three cities, the results will offer the foundation for many other European cities. The outcomes will include both applied research and practical Resource Kits. The Resource Kits are a synthesis of the applied research using common language, diagrams and tools to facilitate the discussion on the re-industrialisation process and is aimed at both public services policy makers and practitioners.

The institutional capacity. We will apply the knowledge learnt about the cities and test the Resource Kits on a site in each of the three cities, selected with stakeholders (see letters of support) at an earlier stage. We will explore the structure of the organisation administering the public services which may include established public authorities, a public-private partnership or a development agency. The circumstances can depend on many variables so we will apply knowledge to three specific sites and produce transition plans as a first practical step. A range of stakeholders will be included in the milestone workshops.

A manifesto for new urban industry. We aim to reduce barriers in re-industrialising urban areas. As industry has developed a negative stigma, we will show how a vast range of technology can be located in urban areas by compiling the results of the research into a manifesto. This summarises the outcomes while focusing on scalable opportunities.


The work will be founded in applied research while engaging regular stakeholder co-creation (e.g. through local Question Time-style events, consultation and workshops). Research will be based on empirical city level data while exploring innovative approaches to governance in public services planning policy. We will produce relevant research for academic journals while synthesising results to foster multi-disciplinary stakeholder focused discussions. The project will involve regular engagement, feedback and updates within the group and also stakeholder outreach and communications, ensuring the research results are relevant while the outcomes are spread across the project for public discussion. We will focus on industry that draws upon and feeds back into a city’s assets – its workforce, communities, culture and public services.


This project brings together three critical aspects associated with re-industrialisation. Firstly, while extensive work has been done on industry, it remains unclear what materials (particularly waste) and which technologies are most relevant to re-industrialisation within the European context. Therefore, we aim to clearly describe the state-of-the-art relating to both. Secondly, as old industry has been largely pushed out of cities, more amenable new technologies are being developed. Yet it remains unclear where innovative industries can be accommodated, so we will explore various suitable urban typologies. Finally, future public services relating to a complex topic such as re-industrialisation require new governance capacities and transition strategies which we will research and apply in three cases.