UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


BSEER academics contribute to new book on the Future of Urban Manufacturing

23 April 2020

Academics from UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering and the Institute for Sustainable Resources have contributed to a new book: Foundries of the Future: A Guide for 21st Century Cities of Making.

Cities of making

Professor Ben Croxford and Dr Teresa Domenech have contributed to Foundries of the Future: A Guide for 21st Century Cities of Making launched on Thursday 23rd April 2020. 

Manufacturing in cities? A pandemic offers no better excuse to discover what is made locally. May it be making face masks or breathing apparatus, processing local food, managing waste or developing new products to solve urban challenges. This pandemic calls for cities to become more resilient to face new challenges and work towards integration of uses in the context of the circular economy and the SDGs. Foundries of the Future: A Guide for 21st Century Cities of Making is a manual for public authorities, planners, designers, community organisations and enthusiasts looking to support and develop conditions for local manufacturers in future sustainable cities. 

The book provides a picture of the state and role of manufacturing in the city and presents four ways manufacturing and cities are intimately interdependent. It then delves into some of the complexity and challenges for manufacturers but also in the opportunities that manufacturing in cities provides to close the loop of materials and energy in the city and move towards more circular ways of production and consumption. The second half of the book helps to break down the complexity of urban manufacturing into 50 patterns, followed by methods to discuss or collaborate. The last chapter presents twelve action areas, for cities striving to support their local manufacturers. The COVID 19 has exposed the fragility of cities in the face of global challenges, this book provides research-based evidence to respond to the present challenges and to enhance future resiliency and diversity of cities. 

Dr Domenech said:

When you think of London the images that come to your mind are associated with banking, investment or services, but there are still substantial pockets of manufacturing in the city ranging from the production of just in time goods to high tech that is designed and made in London. These industries play a crucial role in enhancing resiliency and diversity in the city and not only contribute to value added creation and jobs but importantly they are a crucial piece in enhancing potential for circular economy opportunities in the cities. Our research is a needed exploration of the role of manufacturing in 21st century cities. This books summarises key tools to shape and promote sustainable urban manufacturing to face 21st century challenges and SDGs."

The book has been developed by the Cities of Making team (www.citiesofmaking.com) a three year research project including teams from Brussels (Latitude, BECI, the ULB & VUB), London (UCL & The RSA) and Rotterdam/The Hague (TU Delft). The project was financed through JPI Urban Europe with co-funding by Innoviris, EWRC and the NWO.