Research Project

Cities of Making

Cities of Making explored the role of urban based manufacturing in European cities. Our ambition was to identify what works in supporting a resilient and innovative industrial base, and to test those solutions in a real world setting.


Foundries of the Future: a Guide to 21st Century Cities of Making.


Cities of Making pattern language workshop in London. Photo: Teresa Domenech.


Cities of Making pattern language workshop in Zwolle, The Netherlands. Photo: Víctor Muñoz Sanz.


3D printed street furniture in Rotterdam. Photo courtesy of The New Raw.

Following years of decline and offshoring, European cities are being confronted by a range of issues simultaneously: firstly, manufacturing jobs have shifted quickly to services and have created large gaps in the employment market, concepts such as circular economy are being taken seriously by cities and finally new technology is emerging allowing industry to be quieter and more discrete.  This may offer a raft of potential benefits, including jobs for socio demographic groups most affected by unemployment, innovation, more efficient use of materials and urban resilience. Urban centres play an important role in nurturing new forms of green urban manufacturing, based on a clean, knowledge- and labour-intensive manufacturing sector.

Cities of Making used a combination of strategic and action research resulting in the development of a co-creation instrument, a pattern language, for the use of public officials, designers, and entrepreneurs. Our ambition was to identify what works in supporting a resilient and innovative industrial base and to test those solutions in a real-world setting. The biggest questions we touched include: What technology/resources are suitable for 21st century urban industry? Where can it be located in the city in terms of planning and spatial constraints? How can we leverage the change?

We learned from experiences in London, Rotterdam and Brussels – each with a distinct industrial heritage. Through this project we have developed typologies, practices and policies focusing on public and private stakeholders to breathe new life into their manufacturing communities.

Partners: Brussels Enterprises Commerce and Industry, Latitude Platform for Urban Research and Design (project coordinator), Technical University of Delft, The RSA, l’Université libre de Bruxelles, University College London, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Duration of the project: 30 months (2017-2020)

Funding programme: JPI Urban Europe, ERA-NET Co-fund Smart Urban Futures

Funding amount: 958,741.84

Principal Investigator: Han Meyer

Researchers: Birgit Hausleitner (research coordination TU Delft team), Víctor Muñoz Sanz