Book review. Urban Re-Industrialization: An alternative economic model

URBAN RE-INDUSTRIALIZATION (Punctum Books 2017) Krzysztof Nawratek editor (Reviewed in the LSE Review of Books)
This is a book with a revolutionary aim – a collection of essays which probe for lacunae in the neoliberal truth of the creative city – and one finds multiple references to the utopian Marxist geographer, Henri Lefebvre, in the different contributions. It is in this utopian light that the call for urban ‘re-industrialisation’ should be seen: not as a nostalgic clamour for a return of heavy industry, but as a vehicle for bringing about new forms of urban coexistence involving communitarian and sustainable forms of production. As Nawratek argues, ‘progressive re-industrialization could be a way towards an alternative, effective economic model’.”

In Urban Re-Industrialization, editor Krzysztof Nawratek brings together scholars to discuss the constitutive elements of the image of the creative city and explore ways of moving beyond it towards what Nawratek calls the ‘Industrial City 2.0’. While the nature and contribution of the individual essays are at times uneven, this is a kaleidoscopic work which weaves together diverse and intriguing lines of worthwhile investigation, finds Frederik Weissenborn.

 The following has been abstracted from a review by Frederik Weissenborn appearing in the LSE Review of Books of  October 23, 2017. The full article is available here – https://goo.gl/uAa41e

Table of contents

Introduction: Krzysztof Nawratek

Industrial City 2.0

Part 1. Why we should do it?

1) Re-industrialisation as progressive urbanism: why and how? (Authors: Michael Edwards, Myfanwy Taylor)

2) Mechanisms of loss (Author: Karol Kurnicki)

3) The Cultural Politics of Re-industrialisation: some remarks on cultural and urban policy in the European Union. (Author: Jonathan Vickery).

Part. 2 Politic Considerations and Implications?

4) ‘Shrimps not whales’ – building a city of small parts as an alternative vision for post-industrial society (Author: Alison Hulme)

5) ‘Der Arbeiter’: (Re) Industrialisation as universalism? (Author: Krzysztof Nawratek)

6) Whose re-industrialisation? Greening the pit or taking over the means of production? (Author: Malcolm Miles)

7) Crowdsourced Urbanism? The Maker Revolution and the Creative City 2.0. (Author: Doreen Jakob)

8) Brave new world!? (Author: Tatjana Schneider)

9) The Political Agency of Geography and the Shrinking City (Author: Jeffrey T. Kruth).

Part 3. How we should do it?

10) Beyond the Post-Industrial City? The Third Industrial Revolution, Digital Manufacturing and the Transformation of Homes into Miniature Factories (Authors: John R. Bryson, Jennifer Clark and Rachel Mulhall)

11) Conspicuous production: valuing the visibility of industry in urban re-industrialisation strategies (Author: Karl Baker)

12) Industri[us] (Author: Christina Norton)

13) Working with the neighbours: co-operative practices delivering sustainable benefits (Author: Kate Royston)

14) Low-carbon (re-)industrialisation: lessons from China (Authors: Kevin Lo, Mark Wang)

Extracts from review:

Cities are sometimes considered agents of social innovation and political emancipation: machines for the production of the new. In The Division of Labour in Society (1893)Emile Durkheim thus posited urbanisation as an efficient cause in the transition from societies based on ‘mechanical solidarity’ (where labour is not subdivided, and where social codes are strong) to those based on ‘organic solidarity’ (where the division of labour is more complex, and social codes looser); similar ideas were subsequently put forward by V. Gordon Childe and Jane Jacobs. Given this association with the new, it is perhaps not surprising that the city has been the source of powerful social imaginary, a catalyst for utopian dreams about the good life as well as social and spatial justice. Several such ‘images’ have been developed over the years – including Ebenezer Howard’s ‘garden city’ and Le Corbusier’s model of the ‘Ville Contemporaine’ – and these have informed the discussion of what constitutes good design as well as the production of actual urban formations.

In more recent years, the defining image of the city arguably has been that of ‘the creative city’. This image builds on the idea that urban settlements constitute engines of productivity, rarefication and value addition – a theory already explored in Jane Jacobs’s The Economy of Cities (1969) – but adds the more specific narrative that post-industrial cities are places of a particular kind of productivity associated with the tertiary sector and informed by ‘creative’ agency. The image of the creative city imagines the city as a container of fluid forms of cultural production and consumption, and it evokes a place of knowledge-based labour and ‘innovation’ which is defined in more or less direct opposition to industrial production and its more hierarchical forms of organisation.

Urban Re-Industrialization is divided into three main parts: ‘Why should we do it?’; ‘Political considerations and implications’; and ‘How should we do it?’. This structure is logical, but the contributions do not always fit into the predefined categories. It is, for instance, not obvious why Jonathan Vickery’s excellent text on the evolution of policies in the European Union is located in the first part (why should we do it?) rather than the second (political considerations and implications), and the selection and order of texts sometimes seem haphazard.

This notwithstanding, the book offers an intriguing panorama of theories and practices aimed at questioning and sublating the image of the creative city. Apart from a couple of largely apolitical texts on 3D printing, this, then, is a book with a revolutionary aim –  a collection of essays which probe for lacunae in the neoliberal truth of the creative city – and one finds multiple references to the utopian Marxist geographer, Henri Lefebvre, in the different contributions. It is in this utopian light that the call for urban ‘re-industrialisation’ should be seen: not as a nostalgic clamour for a return of heavy industry, but as a vehicle for bringing about new forms of urban coexistence involving communitarian and sustainable forms of production. As Nawratek argues, ‘progressive re-industrialization could be a way towards an alternative, effective economic model’.

The above has been abstracted from a review by Frederik Weissenborn appearing in the LSE Review of Books of  October 23, 2017. The full article is available here – https://goo.gl/uAa41e

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About the author/editor:

Krzysztof Nawratek: Senior Lecturer in Humanities and Architectural Design at the University of Sheffield. Before joining SSoA associate professor in Architecture, Krzysztof NawratekM.Arch. and M.A. in Architecture programme leader at the School of Architecture, Design and Environment, Plymouth University, United Kingdom. Educated as an architect and urban planner, worked in Poland, Latvia (e.g. for Riga City Council and NAMS Architecture Office) and Ireland (Principal Urban Designer at Colin Buchanan, Dublin).  worked as a visiting professor at the Geography Department at the University of Latvia and as a researcher at National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis, Maynooth, Ireland.m an urban theorist, author of City as a Political Idea (Plymouth, University of Plymouth Press, 2011), Holes in the Whole. Introduction to the Urban Revolutions (Winchester Zero Books, 2012) Radical Inclusivity. Architecture and Urbanism (ed. DPR-Barcelona, 2015) and several papers and chapters in edited books. Main research interest lays in urban theory in the context of post-secular philosophy,  interested in evolution of (post)socialist cities, crisis of the contemporary neoliberal city model and urban re-industrialisation.

 

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About the editor/World Streets:

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | http://bit.ly/2Ti8LsX | #fekbritton | https://twitter.com/ericbritton | and | https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericbritton/ Contact: climate@newmobility.org) | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

View complete profile

 

2 thoughts on “Book review. Urban Re-Industrialization: An alternative economic model

  1. Urban Re-industrialisation: Contents

    Introduction: Krzysztof Nawratek
    Industrial City 2.0

    Part 1. Why we should do it?

    1) Re-industrialisation as progressive urbanism: why and how? (Authors: Michael Edwards, Myfanwy Taylor)

    2) Mechanisms of loss (Author: Karol Kurnicki)

    3) The Cultural Politics of Re-industrialisation: some remarks on cultural and urban policy in the European Union. (Author: Jonathan Vickery).

    Part. 2 Politic Considerations and Implications?

    4) ‘Shrimps not whales’ – building a city of small parts as an alternative vision for post-industrial society (Author: Alison Hulme)

    5) ‘Der Arbeiter’: (Re) Industrialisation as universalism? (Author: Krzysztof Nawratek)

    6) Whose re-industrialisation? Greening the pit or taking over the means of production? (Author: Malcolm Miles)

    7) Crowdsourced Urbanism? The Maker Revolution and the Creative City 2.0. (Author: Doreen Jakob)

    8) Brave new world!? (Author: Tatjana Schneider)

    9) The Political Agency of Geography and the Shrinking City (Author: Jeffrey T. Kruth).

    Part 3. How we should do it?

    10) Beyond the Post-Industrial City? The Third Industrial Revolution, Digital Manufacturing and the Transformation of Homes into Miniature Factories (Authors: John R. Bryson, Jennifer Clark and Rachel Mulhall)

    11) Conspicuous production: valuing the visibility of industry in urban re-industrialisation strategies (Author: Karl Baker)

    12) Industri[us] (Author: Christina Norton)

    13) Working with the neighbours: co-operative practices delivering sustainable benefits (Author: Kate Royston)

    14) Low-carbon (re-)industrialisation: lessons from China (Authors: Kevin Lo, Mark Wang)

    Reply
  2. Urban Re-industrialization

    Contributors Information

    Editor
    Krzysztof Nawratek is a senior lecturer in Architecture at the School of Architecture, the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom. Educated as an architect and urban planner, he has worked as a visiting professor at the Geography Department at the University of Latvia and as a researcher at National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis, Maynooth, Ireland. He was a member of the Board of Experts European Prize for Urban Public Space 2012, 2014 and 2016 and a member of the selection panel for the Polish contribution to the 13th International Architecture Biennial in Venice in 2012 and to the 14th in 2014. Krzysztof Nawratek is an urban theorist, author of City as a Political Idea (Plymouth, University of Plymouth Press, 2011), Holes in the Whole. Introduction to the Urban Revolutions (Winchester, Zero Books, 2012) and Radical Inclusivity. Architecture and Urbanism (ed. Barcelona, dpr-barcelona, 2015) several papers and chapters in edited books.

    Contributors

    Karl Baker is a consultant in urban and transport planning at MRCagney, Auckland, New Zealand. He has previously contributed to architectural and planning strategies that incorporate industrial workspace in mixed-use developments in London. His research on urban reindustrialisation was initially undertaken as part of his MSc City Design and Social Science completed at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2011. He has held positions at the Future Cities Catapult, London, LSE Cites and the New Zealand Ministry of Transport. His current work and research interests focus on the political economy of urban planning policy and economic evaluation of transport infrastructure.

    John R. Bryson is Professor of Enterprise and Competitiveness and Director of the City-Region Economic Development Institute, Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, UK. He research initially focused on the rise and role of business and professional services (BPS), but since 2005 has explored the changing economic geography of manufacturing in developed market economies. This research has explored the interactions between BPS and manufacturing and, in particular, the role design plays in the competitiveness of manufacturing firms. His books include Service Worlds: People, Organisations, Technologies (Routledge); Hybrid Manufacturing Systems and Hybrid Products (IMA/ZLW & IfU); Design Economies and the Changing World Economy (Routledge) and Industrial Design, Competition and Globalization (Palgrave).

    Michael Edwards is an economist and planner at the Bartlett School, UCL. He works with the Just Space network of activist groups on London Planning and the London economy (http://justspace.org.uk) and blogs at http://michaeledwards.org.ukwhere his publications are also listed. Active on Twitter @michaellondonsf

    Jennifer Clark is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy and the Director of the Center for Urban Innovation at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on regional economic development, manufacturing, industrial districts and innovation. Her first book, Remaking Regional Economies: Power, Labor, and Firm Strategies in the Knowledge Economy (with Susan Christopherson) won the Best Book Award from the Regional Studies Association in 2009. Her newest book, Working Regions: Reconnecting Innovation and Production in the Knowledge Economy (2013) focuses on policy models aimed at rebuilding the links between innovation and manufacturing in the U.S.

    Alison Hulme is an associate researcher at the Centre for the Study of the Moral Foundations of Economy and Society at University College Cork, Ireland. She has previously held posts at Royal Holloway, UK; University of Otago, New Zealand; University College Dublin, Ireland. She is the author of On the Commodity Trail (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015) and various journal articles. Prior to entering academia, Alison was a radio and TV presenter for many years.
    Doreen Jakob is an artist and scholar at UNC Chapel Hill, USA and at the University of Exeter, UK. She has held research positions at the Centre for an Urban Future in New York City, at the Urban Research Program at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, at the Centre for Metropolitan Studies in Berlin, for the German Research Foundation, for the Emmy Noether Program and, most recently, with the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. Doreen received her PhD from Humboldt University Berlin.

    Jeffrey T. Kruth is an urbanist and educator based at Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC) where he contributes to the research, design, and teaching aspects of the practice. Prior to joining the CUDC he practiced in New Haven, CT building affordable housing, and worked at the Yale Urban Design Workshop. His work explores the intersections of cultural landscapes, economics, politics, & technology.

    Karol Kurnicki is an post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Sociology, Jagiellonian University, Poland. He currently researches socio-spatial processes of bordering and differentiation in large urban housing estates. He was a visiting researcher at the Culture Theory Space Research Cluster, University of Plymouth (2012) and The Centre for Urban Conflicts Research, University of Cambridge (2014). He is one of the founders of Zakład Usług Miejskich (Urban Workshop) association. Main academic interests include urban studies, urban sociology and critical sociology.
    Kevin Lo is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Geography, Hong Kong Baptist University. As a human geographer with a research focus on environmental governance and politics, Kevin is interested in the relationship between authoritarianism and environmentalism, and the development of effective policy interventions and governance mechanisms to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. He has published in many leading journals, including Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Energy Policy, Energy for Sustainable Development, Energies, Environmental Science & Policy, Habitat International, and Cities.

    Malcolm Miles is author of Limits to Culture (2015), Eco-aesthetics: art, literature and architecture in a period of climate change (2014), and Herbert Marcuse: an aesthetics of Liberation (London, Pluto Press, 2011). His next book is Cities & Literature (2017/18); he is researching a future book on radical aesthetics from Romanticism to contemporary critical art practices, and maintains an interest in modernist painting and architecture.
    Rachel Mulhall is Research Fellow at the Business School, University of Birmingham, UK. Her research interests focus on the firm, competitiveness and the regional economy. Current work is focused on understanding the spatial and contractual structure of supply chains, business adjustment and risk management.

    Christina Norton a founder and director of Fluid, whose creative practice has contributed to new attitudes towards architecture, planning and creative practice. The work is founded on live research and user participation and ranges from large-scale regeneration, neighbourhood planning and urban strategies to hybrid programmes and interventions to one off architectural projects. In 2007 Christina with fellow director Steve McAdam established Soundings to offer stand alone public consultation, acting as an impartial voice in the development process. In 2011 Fluid conceived and delivered Industri[us] an interim use strategy for vacant sites to revalue waste materials, bring back the economic, social and civic and help communities back on their feet. Between 1985-2009 Christina taught at the Architectural Association and London Metropolitan University, she was a founder of NATØ the 1980’s avant-guard architecture group.
    Kate Royston is an independent researcher, facilitator and advisor now based in SW England. During 2006/7 she worked with the EcoPorts Foundation in Amsterdam which sparked a lasting interest in port areas and finding sustainable solutions to their environmental challenges. This ongoing research was partly undertaken as her dissertation project in part fulfilment of the MSc in Sustainable Development (University of Surrey) completed in 2011.

    Tatjana Schneider is a researcher, writer and educator based at the School of Architecture in Sheffield, UK. She is co-founder of the research centre ‘Agency’ and was founder member of the workers cooperative G.L.A.S. (Glasgow Letters on Architecture and Space), which aimed to construct both a theoretical and practical critique of the capitalist production and use of the built environment.
    Her current work focuses on the changing role of architects and architecture in contemporary society, (architectural) pedagogy and spatial agency. She has an interest in theoretical, methodological and practical approaches that expand the scope of contemporary architectural debates and discourses by integrating political and economic frameworks that question normative ways of thinking, producing and consuming space.
    She is the (co)author of Spatial Agency. Other Ways of Doing Architecture (2011), Flexible Housing (2007), A Right to Build (2011), (co)editor of Agency. Working with Uncertain Architectures (2009) and glaspaper (2001-2007).

    Myfanwy Taylor is writing her PhD on contested urban economies at University College London. Her thesis argues that the rise of concern about affordable workspace in London is creating common ground for new economic alliances to emerge. It highlights the importance of the economic evidence base underpinning city strategies and plans as a key site of contestation, in which emerging economic alliances draw on their own perspectives and experiences to advance their interests and concerns. Myfanwy pursues a collaborative approach to research and has been working with a range of community planning networks in London including Just Space and groups in Tottenham and Newham. She is a member of the International Network of Urban Research and Action (INURA) and the Participatory Geographies Research Group of the RGS-IBG.

    Jonathan Vickery is Associate Professor in the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, at the University of Warwick, UK. With a background in contemporary art and design, he has taught and published on art and architectural history and theory, design, urbanism and organization studies. He was a co-editor of the journal Aesthesis, is now Chair of the international Art of Management and Organization conferences. He was co-director of the Shanghai City Lab (2013-2015), and is now a founder director of the new urban culture initiative Kalejdoskop East-West. At Warwick he is Director of the masters in Arts, Enterprise and Development. His most recent book (co-edited with Ian King) is Experiencing Organisations (Libri: Oxon).

    Mark Yaolin Wang is a Professor in the School of Geography at the University of Melbourne. He is the author of Mega Urban Regions in China (1998) and the co-author of China’s Transition to a Global Economy (2002), China’s Urban Space (2007), Old Industrial Cities Seeking New Road of Reindustrialisation (2013), Transforming Chinese Cities (2014), and Towards Low Carbon Cities in China (2014). He is also credited with numerous articles in the fields of geography, migration and urban studies.

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