The Synthesis of Creativity and Manufacturing

Tom Vanderbilt argues that manufacturing will never disappear from our cities, because the creative class will always seek small-scale industry to make their ideas a reality.

Vanderbilt spent some time researching the disappearing garment industry in New York for the Design Trust for Public Space, and he realized that the garment industry will continue in the city despite the rash of closings.

He writes:

"It has become fashionable, in part due to the tireless work of urban studies theorist Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class (2002) and Who's Your City? (2008), to think of cities as big idea labs-creativity skunkworks-where, in science writer Matt Ridley's infectious phrase, "ideas have sex." Often, perhaps in reaction to decades of prophecies of urban decline, this theorizing takes on the zeal of a crusade. You'd be forgiven for thinking no idea has ever been hatched outside a metropolis. While not incorrect, this theory is incomplete. Yes, cities are filled with the modern-day equivalent of the luftmenschen (literally, people who "lived on air"), creatives who breathe WiFi. But in many sectors of the "creative industry," there comes a point when something physical must be made, and when, because of financial or time constraints, it makes sense to have it produced locally."

Full Story: Long Live the Industrial City


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