Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Hyper-Competitive Industrial Markets: Implications for Urban Planning and the Manufacturing Renaissance

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Abstract:  After several decades of deindustrialisation in the so-called advanced economies, we are seeing a renewed enthusiasm for urban manufacturing in cities, and the integration of production into the city fabric. Yet, small-scale industrial accommodation has long been susceptible to displacement by higher-value land uses—particularly residential and prime office—which directly undermines such aspirations. This article focuses on the case of London and, through a review of planning policy and planning documents, market data, and participant observation in both public and private sector networks, provides evidence for and explores the impacts of a hyper-competitive industrial market that has emerged as an outcome of ongoing limited supply and growing demand in the sector. Although it signals a reversal of displacement dynamics between industrial and residential uses, potentially slowing the loss of industrial land supply, it is also leading to a narrowing of demand and competition within the industrial market that leads to intra-industrial gentrification and threatens smaller manufacturers. The article reveals tensions and limitations in planning approaches that seek to manage industrial land supply and create a diversity of workspace accommodation, as well as a gap between popular policy narratives of industrious cities and manufacturing renaissance, and the coherence of policies to support them. The article concludes with a discussion of future research that could advance policy and other interventions to support manufacturing in cities, to further sustainability and social inclusion agendas.

Keywords:  competition; displacement; gentrification; industry; London; manufacturing; planning



© Jessica Ferm. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.