Socio-economics

Based on the city diagnosis, we’ll be digging deeper into the ecology of manufacturers in terms of themes such as jobs and available skills, training, government support and subsidies, competition, logistics access to the market, business motivations, and so forth.  We’ll be taking an ecosystem approach to understand the urban economics, urban metabolism, circular economy, urban geography and transition management.

Specific foci include governance and models in urban transition planning toward a sustainable re-industrialisation process taking into account the role of different governance structures such as public-private partnerships, community-interest companies, bridging organisations, decentralisation model, urban mining and up-cycling, ethnic economies, etc.). We’ll be using research by design methods for stakeholder engagement and use of local resources such as community-based local development strategy or stakeholder and ecosystems workshop methodology. We’ll be exploring approaches to apply ecosystem thinking that allows the combination of social, technological, ecological and spatial elements of urban transition processes, especially regarding the interaction between different urban scales (building, neighbourhood, city, region), industrial process, material cycles and stocks (energy, water, waste, etc.) and mix of functions (production, offices, housing). We’ll finally identify the most relevant approaches to governance models, stakeholder engagement and ecosystem thinking in light of the city diagnosis.

This theme will be developed by ULB and VUB with feedback from the team based on developing applied and strategic urban research. The outcome is fundamental in establishing the governance application for the implementation.

Brussels, a city of making

Brussels, a city of making

This film provides an insight into four manufacturers in Brussels covering both foundational activities and forms of manufacturing that require to be in or near the city.  The film aims to present some of the common trends and challenges, while exposing some of the contradictions between manufacturers.  While the film…

Cantillon

Cantillon

Cantillon is a brewery located in the heart of Brussels, a few steps from the main train station – Gare du Midi.  The brewery produces Gueuze beer which has a peculiar ‘spontaneously fermented’ process based on ancient brewing methods that were once typical for the surrounding Senne Valley.   It…

BIGH

BIGH

BIGH, the acronym for Brussels Integrated Green Houses, is a pioneering urban agriculture business, located on the roof of the retail section of the city’s abattoir.  The business uses a closed loop system within the spirit of cradle to cradle and the circular economy that takes advantage of wasted heat…

CF2D

CF2D

CF2D is located along Brussels’ canal district, within an ERDF (European Regional Development Funds) funded complex oriented towards waste management.  The non-profit organisation is focused on repurposing or at least selectively dismantling and sorting electronic waste.  This provides relatively ‘low-value’ financial returns but is of great value for cities that…

Loewenstein Machines

Loewenstein Machines

Lowestein is located on the south of Brussels, one of only a handful of repair businesses in Belgium.  They provide an essential service by keeping machines moving and working.  However it is not the most attractive job and there are questions of how this business may be carried down to…

Screen Group

Screen Group

Screen Group is located in the south of Brussels and focuses on printing posters and large prints.  This is increasingly a smaller market. There is constant pressure to invest in new technology to bridge the gap.  This film looks at how a business stays afloat despite newer and bigger businesses…

Pragma Plexi / Treize

Pragma Plexi / Treize

While Perma Plexi has a major challenge – finding enthusiastic staff that have experience working with plastic.  It is a business that proves that while accessible work exists in manufacturing within cities, there is a fundamental recruitment challenge to find people that genuinely want to work with their hands and live…

Löwy & La Wetterenoise

Löwy & La Wetterenoise

Baking in Brussels Löwy is an artisanal baker and the retail face for La Wetterenoise.  Both are located in the Drogenbos neighbourhood at the south of Brussels, in a city known for having a baker on every other corner in some parts of the city.  They’re positioned somewhere in the…

Petrus Neon

Petrus Neon

Signage and clients Petrus is a signage company located at the south of Brussels.  It has grown over the years from a business offering one-off solutions to small shops to now building strong relationships with brands and companies to deliver a full service, from design to manufacturing and installation.  …

Think Manufacturing in London Is No More? Think Again.

Think Manufacturing in London Is No More? Think Again.

Among London’s rich history of trade and finance it is easy to forget that it was once an industrial city. The clothing, leather, hat and shoemaking industries were important to the East End, and other industries from watches and precision engineering in Clerkenwell, to shipbuilding on the Thames, to motor…