Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Departures From the Norm: Innovative Planning for Inclusive Manufacturing

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Abstract:  For decades, urban development strategies that privilege narrowly defined “creative” sectors, and anachronistic zoning policies have been the norm in US cities, bringing persistent displacement pressures to manufacturing businesses. However, as cities have faced mounting concerns over inequality, affordability, and diversity, recent scholarship has begun to revisit the importance of urban industry, identifying key contributions that industrial enterprises make to cities. The challenge is finding the right strategies that can preserve, enhance, and potentially expand existing urban industrial space. This article takes up that challenge in three ways: (a) by calling attention to long-standing industrial planning norms that have simultaneously disadvantaged communities of color and undermined awareness of and support for urban manufacturing, (b) by exploring “innovations” that depart from those norms by prioritizing “inclusion” and “visibility” in their planning efforts, and (c) by taking an expansive approach to “planning” that seeks lessons from beyond the formal planning establishment. Drawing from emerging scholarship, research and policy reports, program documents, and interviews with key participants, this article gathers lessons from two industrial planning examples—in San Francisco, CA and Buffalo, NY—that help reveal existing barriers to industrial retention, help reimagine the role and place of manufacturing in the city, and ultimately help to foster more inclusive urban development in the US.

Keywords:  advanced manufacturing; inclusion; industrial planning; urban manufacturing



© Mark Pendras, Adam Nolan, Ashleigh Williams. 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.