Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Urban Revitalisation Between Artisanal Craft and Green Manufacturing: The Case of Brisbane’s Northgate Industrial Precinct

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Abstract:  As Brisbane prepares for the 2032 climate-positive Olympics, traditional industrial precincts in the city are rapidly transforming. With a population of 2.5 M Brisbane has grown by 20% every decade since 1950, and sustainability-driven urbanism is an imperative. Here we document the history and future of Holland Street in Northgate, an inner-city industrial suburb, in the context of local, state, and national urban revitalisation and policymaking. Two globally distinctive tenants, (a) the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Hub and (b) bespoke public art manufacturer and foundry Urban Art Projects, face the twin challenges of embracing green manufacturing and the re-invention of blue-collar work. Digital transformations such as an energy-efficient automated foundry and the integration of cobots in custom manufacturing are advancing the goals of green manufacturing, blue-collar upskilling, and reshoring. An open innovation network creates knowledge spillovers to other industrial precincts in the city. The article discusses local urban planning innovation that is informed by publicly and privately funded R&D, underwritten by state-level government, and a consortium of universities and industry partners. The overall goal is to sketch the nascent planning elements for a locale that is tailored to accommodate the reinvention of urban manufacturing.

Keywords:  advanced manufacturing; blue-collar work; Brisbane; brownfield sites; Industry 4.0; intangible capital; public art; social capital; urban revitalisation



© Greg Hearn, Marcus Foth, Diego Camelo-Herrera, Glenda Amayo Caldwell. 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.