Made in Place: Small-Scale Manufacturing & Neighborhood Revitalization
Technological and economic changes have created new opportunities in small-scale manufacturing and the “maker” economy, which present a chance for communities to make progress on several important economic development issues. Small-scale manufacturing can grow local entrepreneurship and small business, develop or enhance new and existing economic sectors, and revitalize downtowns and business districts. Using tools and case studies, this whitepaper builds the case for why economic development practitioners should be thinking about working with small-scale manufacturers, how to grow the sector, and the particular synergies that are created when locating these businesses in downtowns and mixed use centers.
This report is produced as part of a broader technical assistance program which includes the provision of direct assistance to communities. Funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, and conducted in partnership with Recast City, the assistance guides communities in reviewing existing policies and programs that support local producers to grow their businesses in target neighborhoods. Specifically, the selected communities received a community assessment, during which the project team conducted fieldwork in the local subject area, held in-depth interviews with small-scale manufacturers, and led discussions to coordinate efforts with local stakeholder groups. The four communities that received technical assistance are:
- Knoxville, Tennessee
- Lowell, Massachusetts
- Twin Falls, Idaho
- Youngstown, Ohio
The overall goal of this initiative is to help communities grow their small-scale manufacturing and help their community revitalization efforts. It takes explicit advantage of the fact that small-scale manufacturing can help downtown revitalization and that small-scale manufacturing can benefit from and thrive in downtown locations. This whitepaper brings together lessons from the technical assistance cities and lessons from around the country and identifies four actions that can be taken to help put these ideas into practice in your community.