In times past, industrial use was often a form of pride. Many of the hulking, multi-story industrial buildings in older cities are (still) beautiful additions to our cityscapes. In some cities, those that went vacant have spawned a new form of urban scavenge hunting by those seeking to fuel their appreciation for our industrial past through photography and exploration. Think as well of the WPA posters, many of which used stylized industrial themes to promote our “American” identity.
I never put much thought into the term “post-industrial.” In my college and grad years, the phrase seemed to be used like candy – a ubiquitous summary of the current state of cities in the US. The phrase implies a kind of death in our cities, an inability to retain the industries that spurred their very growth.