'Innovation Hubs' Called a Manufacturing Silver Bullet

A recent Wall Street Journal editorial calls for "Topic-specific, industry-led, and place-based…public-private hubs" as the key to a manufacturing renaissance. The idea is already being tested in four cities.

2 minute read

June 9, 2014, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


"Congress and the White House should go large and create the full proposed network of 45 manufacturing innovation institutes,"

Mark Muro opines on the possibility of innovation institutes: "First proposed in March 2012 and formally requested in President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address, the National Network of Manufacturing Institutes (NNMI) vision calls for the investment of $1 billion in a set of 15 manufacturing innovation hubs (en route to a projected 45). So far, the government has created four of the hubs using existing money (in Youngstown, Chicago, Detroit, and Raleigh), and initiated the creation of four more, without congressional support. But this is where I want to just say: Go for it! Fund all 45 of the envisioned centers and let’s kick the manufacturing renaissance into high gear!"

As for why, according to Muro, "the manufacturing hubs idea reflects a growing consensus that the nation needs to forge a series of more urgent, technology-specific partnerships between business and academia to solve critical manufacturing problems and develop the next generation of cutting-edge technologies for making new, globally competitive products."

The Brookings Institution, for which Muro works, will release a new report today, June 9, called "The Rise of Innovation Districts." From the Bookings site announcing the report: "In contrast to suburban corridors of isolated corporate campuses, innovation districts combine research institutions, innovative firms and business incubators with the benefits of urban living. These districts have the unique potential to spur productive, sustainable, and inclusive economic development."

Friday, June 6, 2014 in The Wall Street Journal

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Street scene in Greenwich Village, New York City with people walking through busy intersection and new WTC tower in background.

Planning for Accessibility: Proximity is More Important than Mobility

Accessibility-based planning minimizes the distance that people must travel to reach desired services and activities. Measured this way, increased density can provide more total benefits than increased speeds.

April 14, 2024 - Todd Litman

Wood-frame two-story rowhouses under construction.

Fair Housing Cannot Take a Back Seat to ‘Build, Baby, Build’

If we overlook fair housing principles in the plan to build US housing back better, we risk ending up right back where we started.

April 11, 2024 - James Jennings

"No 710" lawn sign on green lawn.

LA Metro Board Approves New 710 Freeway Plan

The newest plan for the 710 corridor claims it will not displace any residents.

April 22 - Streetsblog LA

Close-up of row of electric cars plugged into chargers at outdoor station.

Austin’s Proposed EV Charging Rules Regulate Station Locations, Size

City planners say the new rules would ensure an efficient distribution of charging infrastructure across the city and prevent an overconcentration in residential areas.

April 22 - Austin Monitor

Green hills with orange California poppies in bloom in foreground in Chino Hills State Park, California.

Making California State Parks More Climate-Resilient

A recently released report offers recommendations for keeping state parks healthy and robust, including acquiring additional land for conservation and recreation.

April 22 - Spectrum News 1

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.