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Problem, research strategy, and findings: The maker movement is placing small-scale manufacturing development on mayoral agendas across the United States and promises to reinvigorate production economies in central cities. To make effective policy, planners need more knowledge about the entrepreneurs at the center of this phenomenon. Here we present a qualitative investigation of urban maker economies. We draw on semistructured interviews with firms and supportive organizations in Chicago (IL), New York City (NY), and Portland (OR). A limitation of our approach stems from the unavailability of population parameters; we cannot confirm that our sample reflects the universe of maker enterprises. We find that makers draw on ecosystems comprising mainly for-profit firms. The public and nonprofit sectors are important in areas where markets do not provide the resources that fledgling makers require. We find 3 distinct types of maker enterprise: micromakers, global innovators, and emerging place-based manufacturers. Each makes a different contribution to local and regional economic development. Takeaway for practice: Planners can maximize the potential of the maker movement by distinguishing among the 3 types of maker firms. Practitioners focused on employment creation should prioritize emerging place-based manufacturers, helping them build supply chain connections and ensuring that they have affordable space into which to expand. Artisanal micromakers also generate economic benefits, as do global innovators focused on product design and prototyping. But emerging place-based manufacturers have the highest potential for employment creation, both directly and via the business growth they stimulate.
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Journal of the American Planning Association
ISSN: 0194-4363 (Print) 1939-0130 (Online) Journal homepage:
The Maker Movement and Urban Economic
Laura Wolf-Powers, Marc Doussard, Greg Schrock, Charles Heying, Max
Eisenburger & Stephen Marotta
To cite this article: Laura Wolf-Powers, Marc Doussard, Greg Schrock, Charles Heying, Max
Eisenburger & Stephen Marotta (2017): The Maker Movement and Urban Economic Development,
Journal of the American Planning Association, DOI: 10.1080/01944363.2017.1360787
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Published online: 12 Sep 2017.
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Problem, research strategy, and
ndings : The maker movement is placing
small-scale manufacturing development on
mayoral agendas across the United States
and promises to reinvigorate production
economies in central cities. To make effec-
tive policy, planners need more knowledge
about the entrepreneurs at the center of this
phenomenon. Here we present a qualitative
investigation of urban maker economies.
We draw on semistructured interviews
with fi rms and supportive organizations in
Chicago (IL), New York City (NY), and
Portland (OR). A limitation of our approach
stems from the unavailability of popula-
tion parameters; we cannot confi rm that
our sample refl ects the universe of maker
enterprises. We fi nd that makers draw on
ecosystems comprising mainly for-profi t
rms. The public and nonprofi t sectors are
important in areas where markets do not
provide the resources that fl edgling makers
require. We fi nd 3 distinct types of maker
enterprise: micromakers, global innovators,
and emerging place-based manufacturers.
Each makes a different contribution to local
and regional economic development.
Takeaway for practice : Planners can
maximize the potential of the maker move-
ment by distinguishing among the 3 types
of maker fi rms. Practitioners focused on em-
ployment creation should prioritize emerging
place-based manufacturers, helping them
build supply chain connections and ensuring
that they have affordable space into which to
expand. Artisanal micromakers also generate
economic benefi ts, as do global innovators
focused on product design and prototyping.
But emerging place-based manufacturers
have the highest potential for employment
creation, both directly and via the business
growth they stimulate.
The Maker Movement and
Urban Economic
Laura Wolf-Powers , Marc Doussard , Greg Schrock , Charles Heying ,
Max Eisenburger , and Stephen Marotta
Keywords : local economic development ,
maker movement , urban manufacturing
About the authors: Laura Wolf-Powers
( ) is an associate
professor of urban planning and policy at
Hunter College, City University of New York.
Marc Doussard ( ) is an
assistant professor and Max Eisenburger
( ) is a doctoral candidate
in urban and regional planning at the
University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign.
Greg Schrock ( ) is an
associate professor, Charles Heying ( heyingc@ ) is an emeritus professor, and Stephen
Marotta ( ) is a doctoral
candidate in urban studies at Portland State
Color versions of one or more of the articles can
be found online at .
Journal of the American Planning Association,
DOI: 10.1080/01944363.2017.1360787
© 2017 American Planning Association, Chicago, IL.
T he maker movement is commanding attention and resources in city halls
across the nation. The term making refers to the design and fabrication
of consumer products, often via newly accessible technologies. Making
encompasses a range of activities undertaken by learners, do-it-yourselfers, and
businesspeople and takes place in community centers, classrooms, public library
branches, incubators, and factories. The signifi cance of the maker movement to
economic development planning, however, lies principally in the emergence of
new small-scale manufacturing enterprises that integrate design with production.
The confi dence of elected offi cials that this new manufacturing trend can revive
local economic bases animates many local efforts to support maker economies.
Much of the business press and the innovation literature hails the maker
movement as part of a changing paradigm for manufacturing. Local economic
development planners follow this lead—often uncritically—by embracing pre-
dictions that maker-entrepreneurs will spur innovation, generate jobs, and
breathe new life into urban manufacturing clusters. Yet answers to basic ques-
tions about maker businesses and their roles—existing and potential—in local
economies are lacking. Our research addresses that knowledge gap by qualita-
tively investigating maker economies in Chicago (IL), New York City (NY), and
Portland (OR).
We ask two major questions: How do maker enterprises function in cities
whose primary economic bases have shifted from production to services? And
what can maker enterprises contribute to local economic development? We fi nd
that maker enterprises function within city- and sector-specifi c entrepreneurial
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2 Journal of the American Planning Association, 2017
ecosystems that help makers overcome production, fi nance,
marketing, and distribution challenges. Makers pursue
distinct business strategies, each of which contributes in a
different way, and to a differing extent, to the economic
development of cities. We identify three types of maker
rms: 1) micromakers , whose activities contribute to a city’s
artistic and cultural vibrancy; 2) global innovators , who
contribute innovations to products, processes, and materi-
als; and 3) emerging place-based manufacturers , who make
products in place and who contribute most directly to the
goal of employment growth. We conclude that economic
development planners can maximize the potential of the
maker movement by distinguishing among the three types
of maker fi rms. Practitioners concerned with promoting
cultural distinctiveness should take measures supporting
micromakers. Practitioners concerned with seeding innova-
tion should work to support global innovators. Practitioners
concerned with employment creation, and particularly with
production jobs, should prioritize emerging place-based
In the next section we provide an overview of the
maker movement and introduce the work that frames our
research questions: the emerging literature on the maker
movement itself, a longer standing literature on the ben-
efi ts of planning for urban manufacturing, and yet another
literature on entrepreneurial ecosystems. We then describe
the methodology we used to study maker economies in
Portland, New York City, and Chicago and expand on the
ndings we outline above and our suggested directions for
The Promise of the Maker Movement
for Economic Development
The maker movement is the result of changes in both
technology and consumption (Anderson, 2012 ;
Dougherty, 2012 ; Hatch, 2013 ; Marsh, 2012 ). The acces-
sibility of open-source design software and rapid-
prototyping technologies such as three-dimensional print-
ers, personalized computer-numerically controlled machine
tools, and printed circuit boards dramatically reduces the
resources necessary to engage in product design and fabri-
cation. This puts technology directly into the hands of
people who want to create unique material objects. Falling
prices for this advanced equipment make it progressively
easier for would-be entrepreneurs to experiment with
designs and refi ne their skills. Individuals yearning to
reconnect with the material world want to “engage passion-
ately with objects in ways that make them more than just
consumers” (Dougherty, 2012 , p. 12) and support new
interest in making. Makerspaces provide affordable and
shared access to capital-intensive equipment and serve as
learning communities in which people take classes, share
technical knowledge, and connect with peers (Browder,
Aldrich, & Bradley, 2017 ; van Holm, 2017 ). These spaces
can either require membership or allow access to the
Many makers treat their work as a hobby, but some
establish small-scale manufacturing businesses, creating
clothing and fashion accessories, furniture, specialty food
products, and connected devices that use sensors and
telemetry to enable a variety of applications. Barriers to
market entry for these small-scale producers continue to
fall. Online and in-person communities of practice help
maker-entrepreneurs defi ne production specifi cations.
Web-based technology enables them to prototype, refi ne,
and then generate small batches of products. Social media,
as well as internet marketing platforms such as Etsy, allow
maker-entrepreneurs to reach consumers easily. Changes in
consumption also support maker enterprises: Consumers
increasingly want to eat, wear, and use products created
locally through neo-artisanal production methods (Heying,
2010 ; Roy, Acott, Preston, Cogliantry, & Lee, 2015 ) and
to purchase goods customized to personal specifi cations
(Bryson, Clark, & Mulhall, 2014 ; Maker Media &
Deloitte Center for the Edge, 2013 ).
Researchers nd makers to be more collaborative than
typical entrepreneurs; makers gather both in online com-
munities and in makerspaces to “share tools, expertise and
ideas in a very practical way” (Browder et al., 2017 , p. 17).
Maker enterprises, most of which operate as sole propri-
etorships, remain nearly invisible to business databases
such as Reference USA or Dun & Bradstreet or to conven-
tional employment statistics.
Elected offi cials and planners have responded enthusi-
astically to the maker movement because its growth coin-
cides with a general resurgence of interest in and advocacy
for manufacturing in the United States. Manufacturing
refreshes the advanced knowledge crucial to economic
diversifi cation and helps designers to develop better prod-
ucts (Balland & Rigby, 2017 ; Clark, 2013 , 2014 ; Pisano &
Shih, 2012 ). Regions where fi rms have integrated innova-
tion and design with manufacturing production capacity
have grown faster and added more jobs than regions that
have remained specialized in one or the other (Doussard &
Schrock, 2015 ; Lowe & Wolf-Powers, 2017 ). Makers
focus on relinking manufacturing production with design
thus positions the maker movement as a potential means of
rebuilding local manufacturing capabilities.
The maker movement holds particular attraction for
central city–based planners because maker economies
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3Wolf-Powers et al.: Economic Development and the Maker Movement
appear to rely on physical density. Proximity to peer fi rms,
skilled labor pools, and sophisticated, high-income con-
sumers creates a fertile environment for maker-entrepre-
neurs, particularly at the beginning of the lifecycles of
many fi rms, when they produce in small batches and often
rely on shared equipment (Friedman & Byron, 2012 ).
Fewer vehicle miles traveled and relatively well-paying jobs
are good reasons for local governments to plan deliberately
for industrial activity in urban areas despite high land costs
(Chapple, 2014 ). The small fi rms identifi ed with the
maker movement do not face declining space at affordable
rents to the extent that larger manufacturers do (Hum,
2016 ; Leigh & Hoelzel, 2012 ), but availability of space
becomes relevant if they scale up and add employees.
Existing scholarship suggests that the economic devel-
opment benefi ts of the maker movement extend beyond
the generation of employment. Growth in urban produc-
tion creates jobs directly (Berger, 2013 ). Manufacturing,
however, makes other contributions to economic develop-
ment, such as stimulating product and process innovation
and building a regions endowments of skill and technical
knowledge (Balland & Rigby, 2017 ; Malizia & Feser,
1999 ). Small manufacturers who channel consumer spend-
ing toward locally produced goods, including artistic
products, help to circulate income locally, to spark new
export industries, and to build distinctive and attractive
places (Markusen & Schrock, 2006 , 2009 ). Makers often
identify strongly with the localities in which they operate
and place importance on sourcing inputs locally (Heying,
2010 ; Roy et al., 2015 ).
Many policy efforts now aim to support maker com-
munities (Hirschberg, Dougherty, & Kadanoff, 2016 ;
National League of Cities, 2016 ; Obama White House
Archives, 2015a , 2015b ). Understanding how planners can
most effectively support maker businesses, however, requires
answers to several questions. Little is known about how
makers operate their businesses, how or where they intend
to expand, their motivations, the challenges they face, or
the resources they rely on as small-scale manufacturers
operating in cities whose economic development efforts
typically focus on service sectors (Clarke & Gaile, 1998 ).
Will these businesses add employees or remain small? Will
they produce locally or outsource production to scale up?
Will they generate economic development benefi ts that do
not stem directly from local employment generation?
We also embed our investigation of urban maker econo-
mies in the economic development literature on entrepre-
neurship development. This literature suggests that local
environments condition the ability of innovators to form
and grow fi rms. Scholars use the term entrepreneurial ecosys-
tem to refer to place-specifi c institutional support structures
that foster thick networks of relationships between start-up
rms and the external resources they need to thrive. These
external resources include business service providers, suppli-
ers, fi nancing sources, and providers of technical assistance.
External resources also include forums and venues in which
peer businesses connect with one another. A growing con-
sensus in entrepreneurship research argues that promoting a
soft infrastructure of interfi rm relationships should take
precedence over providing direct interventions such as tax
subsidies or business incubators (Auerswald, 2015 ; Mason &
Brown, 2013 ; Motoyama & Knowlton, 2016 ; Motoyama,
Konczal, Bell-Masterson, & Morelix, 2014 ).
The role economic development planners can play,
however, remains unsettled. Entrepreneurs may themselves
generate many of the external resources needed for success-
ful industrial clusters (Feldman, Francis, & Bercovitz,
2005 ). The question of how economic development policy
should support the maker movement therefore intersects
with broader questions about how local maker entrepre-
neurial ecosystems (MEEs) develop and function.
How We Found Makers and Learned
About Their Businesses
Determining how local economic development plan-
ning should approach the maker movement requires learn-
ing about makers’ origins, goals, and challenges as well as
identifying how they interact with other local actors. A
team comprising a senior colleague with extensive expertise
on artisan economies, three graduate students, and three
economic development scholars designed and conducted a
cross-sectional study of maker-entrepreneurs and support-
ing institutions in Chicago, New York City, and Portland
between April 2015 and April 2016. The three research
sites vary considerably in terms of size, market conditions,
and industrial composition, yet each contains a critical
mass of maker activity. Figure 1 summarizes the age (i.e.,
time in business) and number of employees of the 95 fi rms
whose principals we interviewed (26 in Chicago, 39 in
New York, and 30 in Portland).
We precisely defi ned the term maker-entrepreneur; we
excluded hobbyists and crafters from our sample and
interviewed only makers who were generating revenue
from the production and sale of products they had de-
signed; that is, they operated a commercial enterprise. We
also included only fi rms that manufactured or craft-
produced physical end products. We did not interview
visual artists making one-off pieces or makers creating
software and digital media. The sample encompassed both
makers engaged full time in managing enterprises and
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4 Journal of the American Planning Association, 2017
0 5 10 15 20 25
Food & beverage
Apparel accessories
Engineering & design services
Personal care
Ceramic and glass
Makers Interviewed
Chicago NYC Portland
Figure 1. Makers by sector and city. NYC = New York City.
those whose fi rms functioned as side businesses or sources
of secondary income. Our defi nition emphasized the
integration of design and production activities, but our
sample included some fi rms that had transitioned from
in-house to outsourced production while scaling their
operations. Table 1 shows the categories into which we
stratifi ed our sample of fi rms to achieve industry and
product diversity.
Our semistructured interview protocol focused on
company and founder background; production methods
and process; sales and market geography; and relationships
with public, private, and nonprofi t support organizations.
We also asked respondents to characterize their plans for
their businesses going forward. The team pretested the
interview protocol with a small group of fi rms in each city
in April 2015, refi ned the protocol, and then conducted
Table 1. Maker-entrepreneurs by product type.
Products made
No. of fi rms interviewed
Chicago (IL) New York City (NY) Portland (OR) Total
Durable and/or household craft goods, including apparel,
furniture, and jewelry
14 18 20 52
Food and beverage products and artisanal/craft-produced goods 3 13 5 20
Technology-based and/or -embedded objects, including robots,
internet-connected devices, and wearable technology
9 8 522
Total 26 39 30 95
the interviews in the summer and fall of that year (both
principal investigators and graduate assistants conducted
interviews). We generated written interview summaries
that we converted to usable data in two ways. We fi rst used
the summaries to generate an extensive set of descriptive
statistics on the enterprises. Graduate assistants (and in
some cases the principal investigators) then coded the
summaries thematically, using the web-based qualitative
analysis software Dedoose and referring to codebooks
developed collaboratively by the entire team. Researchers
from each site independently coded the same sample
interview excerpts to ensure consistency and reliability.
The team used methodological triangulation to deter-
mine how maker fi rms grew, how they differed, and how
they operated within the entrepreneurial ecosystems of
their cities. We strategically compared each conclusion we
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5Wolf-Powers et al.: Economic Development and the Maker Movement
drew with data from other interviews and existing scholar-
ship, and subjected each tentative fi nding to scrutiny from
every member of the research team. This process enabled
us to determine how makers contribute to economic
development and to draw inferences about how economic
development practitioners can support them.
We also characterized the entrepreneurial ecosystem of
each case city, following the same approach we used with
maker-entrepreneurs. We conducted 41 interviews with
key personnel at public agencies, private fi rms, and non-
profi t organizations serving maker enterprises. We identi-
ed them inductively through online and other data
sources. We also contacted groups and fi rms we learned
about while interviewing maker enterprises. Interviews
focused on a fi rm’s institutional history, activities and
functions, and value propositions (i.e., how each fi rm
understood its contributions to local maker ecosystems).
The principal investigators interpreted data that the team
had gained from maker-supporting organizations, inferring
the broader institutional environments surrounding maker
rms in each place.
Our approach has four limitations. First, we cannot
know the actual population parameters for our site-based
samples or confi rm how representative our sample is
because we lack a comprehensive inventory of maker-
identifi ed businesses. We may also have faced response bias;
those we interviewed may have been more enthusiastic
about the growth potential of their businesses, or more
devoted to social goals, than the larger population of maker
rms. Second, our data come from three cities that possess
the advantages of density, a concentration of human capi-
tal, and historical industrial diversity and thus may not be
representative of all cities. Third, our research focuses on
central cities, not addressing the broader metropolitan
context for maker economies. Fourth, because we focus on
revenue-generating businesses we did not address the
potential value for local economic development of youth-
oriented initiatives that situate making-related technologies
in schools, libraries, and community centers.
Understanding Maker Enterprises
Maker rms tap into technologies that enable them to
easily and cheaply generate product prototypes, engage in
small-scale production at a low cost, and use crowdsourc-
ing and social media to reach and cultivate customers.
Makers in our sample, as shown in Table 1 , manufacture
three broad types of product: durable craft goods, artisanal
food and beverages, and products that combine materials
and design knowledge with expertise in software and
computer-programmable machinery. These product types
originate from distinct sets of technical capabilities,
entrepreneurial motivations, and values.
Makers in the apparel, food, and household goods
sectors tend to value craft and artisanship. The owner of a
preserved fruits and vegetables company in New York City
discussed the pride she takes in her connection to the food
she creates and to the people who consume it:
Being part of a community is important. We all want to
be a part of a tribe. Seeing a group of people making
things, it makes me proud to be a part of it. Having
been in bigger business, I realized that in America, we
don’t make things anymore. There has got to be a group
of people like us to help grow the economy, and to
make good use of people’s time and energy and money.
Makers creating electronic devices and machines (or
hardware), in contrast, appear to value the culture of open-
access technology and digital fabrication. They emphasize
the development of a community of peers concerned with
and curious about the possibilities of robotics and remote
sensing and demonstrate eagerness to generate precise,
elegant products programmable by their users. A Portland-
based entrepreneur, for example, produces a soldering iron
that runs on a solar battery; a Brooklyn company has a
machine that makes specialty coffee beverages to custom
specifi cations; a Chicago-based fi rm makes a global posi-
tioning system (GPS) tracker that enables bicycle owners to
locate and recover their bicycles after loss or theft. Makers
in the electronics sector often post specifi cations for their
product prototypes on websites for others to replicate.
Our interviews indicate that many maker-entrepre-
neurs become business owners reluctantly or accidentally.
Table 2 shows that a plurality have art and design back-
grounds, whereas many others trained as engineers. Their
businesses often started as hobbies, design projects, or
problem-solving exercises. Many makers focus more on
products than markets; many assert that making things
itself constitutes a valuable end. Makers tend to express
strong value orientations and to see themselves as part of a
social project that extends beyond individual ventures and
into social and geographic communities.
The desire of many maker-entrepreneurs to change the
world around them extends to norms of work, production,
and consumption. One Portland entrepreneur whose
company makes high-end razors remarked that when he
was studying the business side of engineering in college,
outsourcing the manufacturing overseas [was] pre-
sented as “This is just how it’s done,” [but] when you
Downloaded by [] at 11:24 18 September 2017
6 Journal of the American Planning Association, 2017
can’t see a product being made you don’t know how it’s
being made or who’s making it. If the manufacturing is
being done here, I care about the employees because I
know them and see them. One of our goals is to create
jobs for others, and to have these jobs be qualitatively
A Chicago fashion producer discussed her effort to
promote a “quality over volume” approach to consuming
People don’t know about the sweatshops or pollution
associated with “fast fashion.” Its better to get people
to wear something more than once rather than buy 10
pieces they wear once…. What would it take to con-
vince women to wear a piece continuously rather than
replacing it every year?
A plurality of our respondents conveyed strong invest-
ment in the future of the places where they live. Several
respondents understood employment multiplier effects. A
Portland-based maker of specialty textiles asserted,
Most appliqué work has been exported to Asia over the
years…. [The business] is happy to pay extra to do this
in house. I understand the local multiplier effect that
occurs when you pay someone to do the work in house.
Figure 1 demonstrates that maker-entrepreneurs are
small and that they have typically been in business a
relatively short time. All but two of the fi rms we inter-
viewed have 25 employees or fewer. Half are sole propri-
etorships. The average fi rm has 4.5 employees, and the
median has 2 employees. Just 20% have more than
10 employees. Moreover, 95% of the fi rms in our sample
were founded after 2000, with 51% founded after 2010.
Yet as the data in Table 3 demonstrate, 76% of the fi rms
we interviewed export their products outside their regions
in spite of their size and relatively short time in existence.
Approximately 40% of the fi rms in our sample sell their
products nationally, and 37% sell internationally. A
Portland producer of specialty microphones exemplifi es
makers’ attachment to their places of origin and their
ability to reach external markets. This entrepreneur began
making microphones as a hobby, developed his product in
the Portland local music scene, and identifi es with
Portland. But he now ships to musicians all over the
country. A Chicago producer of specialty food bars, who
now employs 10 people, provides another example. He
began by producing his own brand for distribution to
local retailers. Eighty percent of his revenue currently
results from manufacturing energy bars for mainly non-
local companies. The ease of online marketing and sales
and the availability of drop-ship distribution help makers
capture and serve nonlocal customers more easily than
they would have been able to do even 10 years ago.
Maker-Enabling Entrepreneurs
Four elements—attention to product design and the
act of making, habits of collaboration with peers, a sense of
a social mission, and attachment to place—link maker-
entrepreneurs across the three case cities. Each case city
also manifests a robust set of intermediary fi rms and orga-
nizations, or maker-enabling entrepreneurs (MEEs), that
address the challenges makers face as they build commer-
cial. Table 4 identifi es six different functions that MEEs
perform: technology access and prototyping, real estate and
affordable workspace, business technical assistance, fi nance
and capital access, sales and marketing platforms, and
networking and community building.
Most MEEs perform multiple functions. Evergreen in
Brooklyn (NY) provides technical assistance and business
skills to fl edgling food entrepreneurs and advocates for
municipal policies, such as industrial zoning enforcement,
that will enable fi rms to expand and add employees while
remaining in the city. Portland’s ADX and Catalyze in
Chicago offer the founders of early-stage manufacturers
access to tools and prototyping equipment while also func-
tioning as social communities whose staff and members
Table 2. Educational backgrounds of principals in maker fi rms.
Bachelor’s degree type Count Share
Art and design 39 41%
Science and engineering 18 19%
Business and law 17 18%
Social science and humanities 11 12%
Other fi elds 10 11%
Total 95 100%
Table 3. Market sales range for makers.
Location of primary end market Count Share
Local 10 11%
Regional 13 14%
National 37 39%
International 35 37%
Total 95 100%
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7Wolf-Powers et al.: Economic Development and the Maker Movement
mentor younger fi rms and connect them with investors,
business opportunities, and subcontractors. The director of
Catalyze, who also runs a fi rm that creates connected de-
vices, spoke about the organization’s hybrid role:
As we built this initially, we thought sharing the tools
was going to be the best benefi t, but what we saw was
that the community was so much more important.
Being able to sit next to an electrical engineer is
amazing and an industrial developer, and an iOS
[i-branded operating system] developer. Just having all
those skills, those are the skills I needed to build [com-
panies] but didn’t have.
Table 5 shows that MEEs contain more for-profi t
rms than nonprofi ts or government agencies. We fi nd
that maker fi rms look to other for-profi t entrepreneurs to
help them build their businesses. A growing set of for-
profi t service providers now mines the commercial oppor-
tunities inherent in helping start-up makers get to scale,
nd fi nancing, and reach customers. Some makerspaces
operate as for-profi t businesses. For-profi t intermediaries
also play a major role in assisting makers who want to
produce at scale but who have limited or nonexistent
manufacturing experience. The Portland fi rm Crowd
Supply, for example, takes on clients who have viable
prototypes but cannot raise start-up capital and
operationalize manufacturing. Crowd Supply gets a
percentage of the capital its clients raise and a percentage
of their product sales in exchange for helping clients raise
funds and make supply chain connections.
Makers also rely on for-profi t fi rms as sales and
market outlets. Such enterprises provide online sales and
fulfi llment platforms, represent maker businesses at trade
shows, and provide brick-and-mortar retail spaces that sell
makers’ products. Made Here PDX, located across the
street from the iconic Powell’s Bookstore in downtown
Portland, stocks 180 different brands of locally made
goods on consignment. Wolfbait & B-Girls retails
clothing, accessories, and merchandise from more than
170 Chicago artisans at its storefront in the Logan Square
neighborhood. For-profi t intermediaries dominate local
maker ecosystems, echoing entrepreneurship research that
concludes that emergent industrial clusters are to a large
degree self-created by entrepreneurs (Feldman et al.,
2005 ).
Not-for-profi t organizations and the public sector
remain important, however, in areas where resources that
edgling fi rms require are unavailable through the market.
City governments and nonprofi t groups make important
contributions to place branding and marketing, for
example, by sponsoring “Made In ____” campaigns that
Table 4. Services provided by maker-enabling entrepreneurs.
Service type Services provided Representative organizations
Technology access/
Makerspaces where maker-entrepreneurs share manufacturing
equipment (laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC lathes) and knowledge.
Access can be paid or open to the public.
ADX Portland (OR)
Brooklyn (NY) Fashion and Design Accelerator
Catalyze Chicago (IL)
Real estate/affordable
Shared spaces where maker-entrepreneurs rent workspace below
market rents. Many operate as incubators providing business assistance
or as collectives with informal knowledge exchange and mentoring.
Organic Food Incubator, NYC
Industrial Council of Near West Chicago
Tillamook Station, Portland
Business technical
Services such as input sourcing, personnel management, branding, and
product distribution.
Evergreen Exchange, NYC
MakerBiz Chicago
Crowd Supply, Portland
Finance/capital access Organizations providing networking, access to investors, and working
capital for business expansion.
New York City Partnership Fund
Sandbox Industries, Chicago
Craft3, Portland
Sales/marketing platforms Platforms and venues for maker-entrepreneurs to market their goods
and connect with customers locally and globally, including online
marketing sites, retail establishments, and fulfi llment services.
Etsy, NYC
Wolfbait & B-Girls, Chicago
Made Here PDX, Portland
Networking, community
building, and advocacy
Soft infrastructure organizations build peer networks, brand identity,
and local sales. Collectively, these organizations take up political issues,
including industrial land use.
New York’s Next Top Makers (NYC Economic
Development Corporation)
Portland Made Collective
Note: 3D = three-dimensional; CDC = computer-numerically controlled; NYC = New York City.
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8 Journal of the American Planning Association, 2017
help build demand and signal offi cial support for local
manufacturers (Urban Manufacturing Alliance, 2013 ).
Nonprofi t organizations or government entities in all three
cities make deliberate efforts to cultivate mutually benefi -
cial relationships among makers, local suppliers, local
contract manufacturers, and fi nancial investors. In New
York City, for example, Futureworks Incubator (formerly
the Next Top Makers program) coordinates incubation
support services that help start-up maker fi rms in the
digital technology area refi ne their products, build busi-
ness knowledge, and connect to established manufacturers
in the city.
Cities and nonprofi ts also play a part in ensuring that
edgling manufacturers have physical space, going beyond
the now-standard intervention of providing or supporting
makerspaces. Developing makerspaces stands as a priority
for cities aspiring to grow maker businesses, but maker-
spaces do not address the real estate needs of fully incu-
bated fi rms ready to expand. Mission-driven industrial
landlords that take a double bottom-line approach to their
rental properties appear to be more central than maker-
spaces to the survival and growth of maker enterprises.
New York’s Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center
and Brooklyn Navy Yard, Tillamook Station in Portland,
and the Industrial Council of Near West Chicago charge
enough rent to cover their operating expenses but accept
less revenue than the highest and best use in the market-
place would generate. A crucial factor in the ability of
urban maker-entrepreneurs to thrive and expand is having
affordable space convenient to their homes, suppliers, and
There are important variations as well as similarities
among MEEs in Chicago, New York City, and Portland.
Ecosystem institutions in each city target the dominant
maker-entrepreneur populations. A cluster of hardware and
electronics entrepreneurs in Chicago refl ects the continu-
ing strength of manufacturing and industrial design in that
city, whereas the balance in New York City and Portland
tips more toward craft and artisan makers. Table 6 shows
that New York City’s makers draw directly on its historic
specialization in food and fi ne arts, just as Portland makers
draw from the city’s wood products and metal-working
sectors. Two New York maker-enabling entrepreneurs focus
on the fashion sector, one serves food producers, and
others draw from the city’s arts culture. Maker culture in
Portland draws on that citys environmentally and socially
responsible enterprises as well as its computer hardware
and software scenes.
Three Types of Makers and Their
Contributions to Economic
Local offi cials devote increasing resources to support-
ing the maker movement, often in the hope of reviving
agging manufacturing economies. Yet most makers cur-
rently operate as start-ups or sole proprietors. A key ques-
tion for economic development practitioners is whether
makers will generate signifi cant local employment growth
in the future and, if so, whether they will boost demand for
Table 5. Maker-enabling entrepreneurs by primary function and sector.
Primary function For profi t Nonprofi t Public sector Total
Technology access/prototyping 3 8 0 11
Sales/marketing platforms 10 0 0 10
Real estate/affordable workspace 3 4 2 9
Business technical assistance 3 2 1 6
Finance/capital access 1 3 0 4
Networking, community building, and advocacy 0 1 0 1
Total 20 18 3 41
Table 6. Maker product specializations by metro area.
Product type
New York
City (NY)
Apparel 5 7 1
Apparel accessories 1 4 7
Ceramic and glass 1 1 1
Electronics 5 5 4
Engineering and design services 4 3 1
Food and beverage 3 13 5
Metal 3 2 4
Personal care 1 2 2
Wood 3 2 5
Total 26 39 30
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9Wolf-Powers et al.: Economic Development and the Maker Movement
production workers. We use fi rms’ responses to questions
about their production locations, and about their inten-
tions with respect to future expansion, to address these
questions. We segment the respondents into three catego-
ries. Micromakers , as we defi ne them, produce within their
local regions but want to maintain their current size. The
rms we call global innovators want to grow or to be ac-
quired yet have chosen to produce outside of their regions
of origin, either elsewhere in the United States or overseas.
The enterprises we refer to as emerging place-based manu-
facturers produce within their regions, and their principals
report the intention to expand. Data on these fi rms vali-
date the premise that the maker movement can be a source
of job growth. As we report below, however, these fi rms
remain relatively small for the time being, and they face
barriers to scaling up.
Table 7 shows that micromakers ( n = 23) account for
24% of the fi rms we interviewed. Micromakers express a
commitment to craft production—making as its own
reward—and value direct, daily involvement in the manu-
facturing process. They fear that rapid scale-up will out-
pace their skills and resources and diminish the time they
can spend on design and craft. A New York City ceramicist
I don’t want to grow so much that I need to hire
employees. I’m trying to use social media more and be
more informal about showing my work. Other than
that, there’s no 5-year plan…. I rarely think of myself
as a small business owner. I’m really an artist, but I
recognize that in order to succeed in [New York City],
you need to think of yourself as a business.
A Chicago producer of hand-turned decorative wood
products said,
People tell me I should just do it with a [computer-
numerically controlled] router, but the whole reason I
started doing this was to get away from the computer,
and my customers like that it’s handmade and each
one slightly different.
Our interview results suggest that micromakers will
likely not affect local economies directly as employers.
They chiefl y contribute to regional economic development
by providing livelihoods for their sole-proprietor owners
and nurturing the cultural distinctiveness that makes places
attractive for living and working. Micromakers also
support specialized producer services enterprises (see
Markusen & Schrock, 2006 , 2009 ).
Global innovators ( n = 20) account for 21% of our
sample. These enterprises rely on talent and resources in
their cities of origin to design products and iterate proto-
types and typically conduct early-stage production there.
They then use global outsourcing arrangements when they
begin scaling up to manufacture for larger markets. They
make this decision based on both cost per item and the
presence in Southeast Asia of complete and easily navigated
supply chains often unavailable in the United States. A
New York–based maker of durable fashion accessories
noted that despite geographic distance, working with a
contract manufacturer in China saves both costs and effort.
An entrepreneur whose company made internet-connected
4 explained the decision to outsource to China
once the fi rm was doing product runs of 5,000 or more:
The electronics supply chain is in China. We would
really have just manufactured the stuff in the U.S., but
it was legitimately really hard at this point to do this.
You had really high-end guys who wanted to do like
specialty stuff or you had people doing the cheapest
possible stuff. There was not expertise at doing stuff
nimbly and inexpensively.
We conclude that companies that outsource produc-
tion do not create local production jobs, although they still
contribute creative energy to urban economies. They
employ engineers, industrial designers, and programmers,
and they generate business for dozens of auxiliary enter-
prises, from crowdfunding platforms to advertising agen-
cies to law fi rms.
Emerging place-based manufacturers, which we defi ne
as fi rms that produce locally or regionally and whose
principals report the intention to grow, make up more than
half of the maker enterprises we surveyed ( n = 52).
We nd that the principals of many emerging place-
based manufacturers have strong place attachments and
social commitments, strive to source materials locally, and
think of their businesses as social enterprises. Many pro-
duce goods, such as food and beverages or bespoke prod-
ucts, that require manufacture close to their end markets.
Some have returned to local production after fi nding global
outsourcing unsatisfactory. The principal of one Chicago
Table 7. Average full-time equivalent (FTE) employees by fi rm type.
Firm type Average FTEs Total employees
Micromaker ( n = 23) 3.7 84
Global innovator ( n = 20) 3.95 79
Emerging place-based
manufacturer ( n = 52)
5 264
All maker fi rms ( N = 95) 4.5 427
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10 Journal of the American Planning Association, 2017
shoe company returned to domestic operation after order-
ing 1,200 pairs of shoes from a Chinese contractor, which
arrived “6 months late and poor quality”:
They fell apart almost immediately. I think it was
because the factory was busy with bigger orders and
made changes to my process because they thought I
didn’t know what I was doing…. I had to disassemble
the 2,400 shoes from China and reassemble them.
Because I had to be more systematic, the process
taught me how to subdivide tasks. It taught me that I
could scale up to mass production on my own.
This entrepreneur faces challenges despite her success;
she struggles to raise capital and avoids hiring production
employees even when they would lighten her own burden.
She was beginning to participate in a local women in tech
mentorship program when we interviewed her and was
considering collaborating with an entrepreneurship center
at a local university. Her experience suggests the impor-
tance of local entrepreneurial ecosystems for this type of
The Chicago shoe manufacturer is not an isolated case.
Emerging place-based manufacturers appear likely to have
organic connections to local institutions that connect them
with larger, longer standing industrial businesses. The
president and chief executive offi cer of the Brooklyn Navy
Yard Development Corporation, a nonprofi t real estate
provider that hosts both makers and more traditional
industrial tenants, articulates this point:
What we nd is that makers are drawing from the
strengths of [New York’s] economy, the explosion of
creative design happening here—drawing on those
things but also making a physical product…. The
home run for us is when a maker goes from a maker to
a manufacturer.
The fact that more than half of the fi rms we inter-
viewed both produce locally or regionally and intend to
expand indicates potential for job growth. Most fi rms in
the emerging place-based manufacturer category are still
quite small, however, with 35 employing fewer than fi ve
people and 14 remaining, for the time being, sole propri-
etorships . Table 7 shows that with ve full-time equivalent
employees on average, they are only slightly larger than the
micromakers and global innovators in the sample. They
aspire both to produce locally and to grow, adding new
employees. But this desired growth path will likely prove
daunting in practice. The failure rate for start-up businesses
is high, and there is no guarantee that as these fi rms scale
up (or as other fi rms acquire them) they will not decide to
relocate production, either domestically or overseas. The
company MakerBot, which manufactures three-
dimensional printers used by many in the maker commu-
nity, grew between 2009 and 2015 from a small collective
of founders to an enterprise with 400 production employ-
ees in Brooklyn. But its New York City workforce shrank
after the industrial printing company Stratasys, which had
acquired the fi rm in 2013, relocated production to China.
Our data suggest that other makers will remain local but
will manage high costs by specializing in luxury and
custom goods, thus limiting their expansion potential.
Implications for Economic
Development Planning
Elected offi cials and planners are responding enthusias-
tically to the economic development possibilities the maker
movement presents. Yet most appraisals of the movement
base their conclusions on broad generalizations about
technological change, reports of the newfound popularity
of makerspaces, or anecdotal data on specifi c business
enterprises. We use a large qualitative data set, drawn from
in-depth interviews in three cities, to offer a more in-
formed understanding of maker fi rms and to assess their
potential to promote local economic development. We
directly investigated both maker businesses and supportive
institutions, or maker-enabling entrepreneurs.
Makers produce a variety of products for a range of
markets, and this is part of why they differ in signifi cant
ways relevant to planning practice. Maker-entrepreneurs
are often idealistic and socially minded, expressing the
desire to change the world around them by adhering to
alternative norms of work, production, and consumption.
Producers of durable craft goods (apparel, accessories, and
household furnishings) and artisanal food value craft,
artisanship, and attachment to local places and local pro-
duction. Makers creating electronic devices and machines
(or hardware), in contrast, value the culture of open-access
technology and digital fabrication. Maker-entrepreneurs
are small and have typically been in business a relatively
short time. Yet in spite of this, 76% of the fi rms we inter-
viewed export their products outside their regions. Our
examination of MEEs reveals that maker fi rms tend to look
to other for-profi t entrepreneurs to help them build their
businesses. But we also identifi ed cases in which solely
market-driven organizations fall short of these needs.
Our data help to address the question of whether the
maker movement will lead to a signifi cant increase in
production employment in U.S. cities. Each of the three
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11Wolf-Powers et al.: Economic Development and the Maker Movement
types of makers we identify has a different likelihood of
growing and producing in place. Global innovators appear
to expand the capacity of cities for innovation and high-
tech entrepreneurship, but they do not generate produc-
tion jobs. Micromakers provide sources of income for
artists and creatives who build economic vibrancy and
distinctive places; the frequency with which they operate as
sole proprietors and their desire to remain small, however,
limit their potential to become major employers.
Emerging place-based manufacturers do have the
potential to generate employment at a larger scale. This
category of makers needs robust entrepreneurial ecosystems
to achieve large-scale employment. Our interview data
show that the scalability of emerging place-based manufac-
turers depends on the thickness of peer networks that
furnish mentors and supply chain connections and on the
existence of cultural support for consumption that refl ects
ecological and social values. Their scalability also depends
on the availability of adequate real estate: Affordable space
appears to matter more to these makers than does access to
Our ndings suggest that economic development
practitioners should moderate their most exuberant
expectations, particularly the hope that the maker
movement will lead to a signifi cant increase in production
employment in the United States. Yet our results lend
support to the more modest premise that maker fi rms are a
positive force for urban economic development. Economic
development planners can improve their effectiveness by
targeting their policy approaches in ways that account for
unevenness in makers’ motivations, aspirations, and market
contexts. They need to understand both the benefi t that
each type of maker offers and the interventions appropriate
to that type.
Micromakers benefi t from technical assistance to
sole-proprietor owners. Planners can develop policies that
help micromakers comply with local regulations, enforce
contracts, keep current with skills and technology trends,
and engage in personal and business fi nancial planning.
Global innovators need what other professional services
businesses need: transparent and consistent local regula-
tions, high-quality higher education institutions, respon-
siveness from city departments in charge of providing basic
infrastructure, and amenity-rich residential neighborhoods
to attract highly mobile workers. Such measures already
dominate policy efforts focused on improving local business
climates. Practitioners focused on employment creation
should prioritize support for emerging place-based manu-
facturers. Planners should consider policies and supportive
actions that help address the market failures that these
enterprises experience. These include branding campaigns
that promote locally made products; efforts that connect
maker-entrepreneurs with more established local manufac-
turers with whom they might contract for materials, com-
ponents, or assembly; and programs to retain industrial land
and write down rents for start-up businesses.
The maker movement remains in its infancy. Our
ndings suggest that maker ecosystems have potential to
build urban creativity and distinctiveness, to spur innova-
tion, and to generate some new employment opportunities,
both directly and via the multiplier effect. Planners should
bear in mind, however, the limited likelihood that makers
will replace traditional urban manufacturing jobs lost to
deindustrialization and (in growing cities) high land costs.
This suggests that rather than hopping completely onto the
makers bandwagon, planners should continue to support
more traditional industrial retention efforts as well as
industrial diversifi cation.
1. A key criterion we used to defi ne makers—the integration of design
and production activities—is not easily observed in secondary data. We
used a set of decision rules developed by Heying and Marotta (2015) to
build a database of fi rms that met the criteria of a) developing and
marketing new and novel products and b) engaging (or having recently
engaged) in the manufacture of those products. We identifi ed a total of
1,900 making candidates by compiling master lists of fi rms from a) lists
provided by local organizations and programs such as Portland Made
and Made in NYC, b) lists of past and present participants in maker-
spaces and maker faires, and c) internet searches for craft and artisanal
manufacturers. Using our decision rules, we culled those lists, yielding
databases of more than 200 makers in each city. We identifi ed websites
and social media accounts for each maker and used those resources to
confi rm that the maker remained active. Each active maker was then
categorized according to type of product.
2. Interrater reliability tests produced a pooled Cohen’s kappa statistic of
.54, which indicates a fair degree of consistency in how the individual
members of the research team applied the codes. See Wolf-Powers et al.
(2016) for further detail about the interview protocols and process.
3. A fuller discussion of the variation and historical character of local
maker ecosystems is beyond the scope of this article. We address this at
greater length in Wolf-Powers et al. (2016) .
4. A larger company acquired this company several years ago, and they
now develop only software that enables people to communicate with
their home heating systems via their computers and smartphones.
We are grateful to individuals representing numerous fi rms and organi-
zations who gave their valuable time for interviews. We wish to thank
Annie Levers for excellent research assistance and the Pratt Center for
Community Development in Brooklyn (NY) and ADX in Portland
(OR) for helping us generate our sample of maker enterprises.
Research Support
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation metropolitan entrepreneur-
ship research program funded this study.
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... The urban-based nature of these new ventures made them an ideal target for place-based policies (e.g., Wolf-Powers et al., 2017), such as rezoning of mono-functional areas towards mixed-use ones. Mixed-uses zoning supports a balanced and sustainable cohabitation of manufacture and housing (Grant, 2002) also mixed with other functions, e.g., recreation, nature development and water management (Louw & Bruinsma, 2006;Nabil & Eldayem, 2015); at the same time, it tends to frame manufacturing according to a post-industrial "high-tech" and smart narrative based on the success of the maker movement . ...
... First, the actual capability of mixed-use zoning to attract and favour the settlement of "hi-tech" urban makers is still under question (Lester et al., 2013). Second, a more comprehensive definition of urban manufacturing industries could support researchers and planners in differentiating the associated location patterns (Wolf-Powers et al., 2017). Third, case-studies should deepen the role of traditional manufacturing in contributing to the integration of socially and economically marginalized groups (Li et al., 2018). ...
... The maker movement (Anderson, 2012) constitutes a sort of natural focus for urban planners and policy makers, because their competitiveness substantially relies on urban economies based on density, economic variety, geographical proximity, skilled labour pools, and sophisticated, high-income consumers expressing a customized and fragmented demand (Friedman & Byron, 2012). This new form of urban manufacturing is also more knowledge-intensive and less space intensive than the traditional one, fitting well to higher and more sustainable high-quality standards of life in the city (Van Winden et al., 2010;Wolf-Powers et al., 2017). ...
This article discusses the implications of the “maker narrative” for urban policies by analysing the issues raised by the implementation of mixed-use zoning and other policies deemed to ‘make room’ for manufacturing in the city. Such policies, by focusing on innovative and environmentally friendly activities, may fail to acknowledge that local and inclusive urban manufacturing still play a role in enhancing social inclusion and increasing resilience of urban economies. We question the possibility of attracting advanced manufacturers while preserving traditional productions, promoting an inclusive economy, and coping with spatial and socioeconomic constraints by means of planning and design policies. Our applied research is grounded on both qualitative and quantitative data collected in the production-oriented district of Cureghem in Brussels. By analysing three different planning actions implemented in the district, we can identify a set of arising conflicts concerning the co-habitation of residential and productive functions within urban contexts, due to the substitution of traditional manufacturing activities with unembedded innovative industries, together with the potential exclusion of the low-skilled tier of local workforce from the development processes triggered by these policies. Policy recommendations identify co-creation initiatives, pilot projecting and micro-zoning as suitable takeaways for practice to overcome such weaknesses and drawbacks.
... Indeed, were the handicrafts not of suitable quality and distinctive appeal, the artisan entrepreneur would not be able to sell them. Some artisan handicrafts include textile and leather garments to wear, rugs to decorate floors, handcrafted leather wallets and purses, specialty soaps for bathing, craft beer to drink or ethnic food to eat, custom-baked goods like wedding cakes, custom-made ceramic and metal containers to use in the kitchen or in decorating, handmade jewelry, handmade musical instruments, and handmade wooden furniture and toys (Hill, 2021;Kapp, 2017;Kroezen et al., in press;Ratten et al., 2019;Wolf-Powers et al., 2017). The fact that artisan products and services usually have a practical use to the consumer versus solely an aesthetic appeal is perhaps what distinguishes such handicrafts from fine-art paintings, sculptures, recorded music, dance and theater productions, and so on that consumers also buy chiefly to look at or to listen to. ...
... When artisans begin selling their handicrafts and begin developing a related, identifiable small business, they are engaging in artisan entrepreneurship (Pret & Cogan, 2019;cf. Glaeser, Rosenthal, & Strange, 2010) versus remaining, say, hobbyists with no commercial goals (Bouette & Magee, 2015;Wolf-Powers et al., 2017). Some artisan entrepreneurs have a strong commercial intent, whereas many others pursue purely lifestyle goals that rank independence and craft fidelity over business growth (Hoyte, 2019;Sjölander-Lindqvist et al., 2020;Tregear, 2005). ...
... Many artisan entrepreneurs' businesses remain quite small and informal in survival mode, but some display at least lifestyle mode of operation (more formality and asset accumulation but little long-term growth in employee headcount or sales) or even deliberately managed, ongoing growth in locations, product lines, and employee headcount (Morris et al., 2018). Many artisan entrepreneurs' businesses are part-time endeavors, at least until they can generate enough income for the artisan to leave other employment and work full-time in their own firms (Hill, 2021;Wolf-Powers et al., 2017). Some artisan entrepreneurs are driven into self-employment of necessity after losing a job, whereas for others this venturing onset is a planned, deliberate choice not conditioned on dire necessity but instead on higher-order needs met by intrinsic satisfaction from plying their craft (Dencker et al., 2021;Hessels, van Gelderen, & Thurik, 2008). ...
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This article presents conceptual research questions and propositions on the relationship between the artisan entrepreneur's oppositional identity and entrepreneurially venturing in the context of declining cities and urbanized regions. In general, I propose that some features of declining cities typically deemed harmful to business (e.g., deindustrialization, population loss, stifled innovation) may be less problematic for artisan ventures operated with a strong devotion to craft, localness and sense of place, and independence and less emphasis on financial performance than is typical of more mainstream entrepreneurship. The conceptual development herein relies on identity theory (including occupational identity and counter-institutional identity concepts), embeddedness theory, and urban economics concepts. This effort addresses calls for more research on both artisan entrepreneurship and the declining city as a context of entrepreneurship. Keywords: artisan entrepreneurship, artisan entrepreneurs' oppositional identity, entrepreneurship in declining cities, entrepreneurial context
... The urban area is central to many trades, industrial, and other strategic sectors. Many activities are carried out in urban areas, and the high number of residents bring urban areas to face problems, ranging from transportation, health, environmental, economic, social, and so on (1)(2)(3)(4). Therefore, it is necessary to have a sustainable city development plan to inhabit the urban environment in the future comfortably. ...
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Sustainable city planning is one of many countries' 2030 sustainable development goals. In carrying out sustainable urban planning, it is necessary to look at the 3D aspect of the building. However, 3D mapping for large areas is very expensive. So we need an alternative to make three-dimensional buildings in urban areas that are cheaper. This study will review how well the three-dimensional reconstruction of urban areas uses open-source data from the Indonesian National Digital Elevation Model (DEMNAS) with a spatial resolution of 8 meters. This study found that the RMSE value of the DEMNAS 3D model reached 2.320 meters with the optimum 3-dimensional reconstruction at a medium building height around 5-7 meters. Three-dimensional modelling with DEMNAS will be good in relatively flat areas. This research hope can help better and lower cost sustainable city planning.
... Educational institutions have replaced woodworking and metalworking classes by adopting makerspaces and encouraging lessons about entrepreneurship (Bergman Jr & McMullen, 2020). As a result, this new organizational phenomenon is now appealing to policymakers who are searching for regulatory frameworks and other institutional policies that could increase attention and opportunities for makers who boost entrepreneurial activity (Doussard, Schrock, Wolf-Powers, Eisenburger, & Marotta, 2018;Eisenburger, Doussard, Wolf-Powers, Schrock, & Marotta, 2019;Howard, Gerosa, Mejuto, & Giannella, 2014;Wolf-Powers, Doussard, Schrock, Heying, Eisenburger, & Marotta, 2017). In sum, not only researchers, but also corporations and policymakers are turning to makers who are redefining how entrepreneurial firms are formed and innovations are commercialized, thus shifting the perception of makers from garage hobbyists to entrepreneurs. ...
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The nascent research on the maker movement highlights implicit assumptions embedded in a model of closed traditional product development that frequently appears in entrepreneurship and innovation literature. In contrast to closed traditional product development, the maker movement emphasizes inclusiveness, openness, sharing, and collaboration. To date, we know little about how institutional-level factors (such as intellectual property rights protection, maker culture and access to makerspaces) impact the probability of a hobbyist maker becoming an entrepreneur. We leverage the institutional perspective to examine the differing regulatory, normative, and cultural elements with a cross-national study. Via a leading maker community, HacksterIO, we collected data from surveying 3,139 global makers from 99 countries during 2016, thus providing the first quantitative evidence about the maker movement's impact on firm creation. Our results suggest that makerspaces influence entrepreneurship by legitimating entrepreneurship, and not by the provision of economic resources. This paper provides the first large quantitative evidence on maker entrepreneurship across the world, and how institutional factors impact the creation of maker-founded firms in different societies.
... See examples in footnote 96. From the perspective of local economy, a recent study on the impact of the maker movement onto urban economic development argues that city planning finds making interesting for its dependence on "physical density"(Wolf-Powers et al., 2017). ...
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Making and digital fabrication technologies are the focus of bold promises. Among the most tempting are that these activities and processes require little initial skill, knowledge, and expertise. Instead, they enable their acquisition, opening them up to everyone. Makerspaces and fab labs would blur the identities between professional and amateur, designer and engineer, maker and hacker, ushering in a broad-based de-professionalization. Prototyping and digital fabrication would unite design and manufacturing in ways that resemble and revive traditional craftwork. These activities and processes promise the reindustrialization of places where manufacturing has disappeared. These promises deploy historical categories and conditionsexpertise, design, craft production, manufacturing, post- industrial urbanismwhile claiming to transform them. This dissertation demonstrates how these proposals and narratives rely on imaginaries in which countercultural practices become mainstream by presenting a threefold argument. First, making and digital fabrication sustain supportive environments that reconfigure contemporary design practice. Second, making and digital fabrication simultaneously reshape the categories of professional, amateur, work, leisure, and expertise; but not always in the ways its proponents suggest. Third, as making and digital fabrication propagate, they reproduce traditional practices and values, negating much of their countercultural and alternative capacities. The dissertation supports these claims through a multi-sited and multinational ethnographic investigation of the historical and social effects of making and digital fabrication on design practice and the people and places enacting. The study lies at the intersection of science and technology studies, human-computer interaction, and design research. In addressing the argument throughout this scholarship, it explores three central themes: (1) the idea that making and digital fabrication lead to instant materialization of design while re-uniting design with manufacturing; (2) the amount of skill and expertise expected for participation in these practices and how these are encoded in rhetoric and in practice; and (3) the material and social infrastructures that configure making as a design practice. The dissertation demonstrates that that the perceived marginality of making, maker cultures, digital fabrication allows for its bolder promises to thrive invisibly by concealing other social issues, while the societal contributions of this technoculture say something different on the surface.
... Research has looked at how industrial and residential land-uses can be combined, highlighting the complexities of pursuing an innovation agenda and attracting high-skilled knowledge workers, while also giving space to a diverse economic base including urban manufacturing (Grodach & Gibson, 2019; see also Hill et al., 2018;Hill et al., 2020). Such tensions play out against the background of a renewed optimism in relation to entrepreneurial activities engaging in smallscale urban manufacturing that combines design and production-often referred to as the 'maker movement' (Hatch, 2013;Wolf-Powers et al., 2017). The movement is spurred on by changes in consumption patterns and a growing demand for customized items that are smallbatch, locally sourced and produced (Hirshberg et al., 2017). ...
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This article explores old and emerging socio‐spatial imaginaries and uses of Rotterdam’s Makers District. The district comprises two urban harbors—Merwe Vierhavens and Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij—historically in use as bustling trade, storage, and ship yarding nodes of the city’s port activities. At the turn of the millennium, technological advancements made it possible to move many port‐related activities out of the area and farther out of the city, gradually hollowing out these harbors’ port‐related economic foundations and opening opportunities for new uses and imaginaries. This article traces the transition by detailing how the boundary between the city and the port has become more porous in this district. It does so by offering original empirical evidence on the flows of users in and out of the area in recent years, based on location quotients, while also applying a content analysis of the profiles of companies and institutions currently inhabiting and working in these transformed port‐city spaces. On the one hand, the results show how the ongoing port‐city transition in Rotterdam’s Makers District combines carefully curated interventions and infrastructure plans seeking to progressively adapt the area to new purposes, while maintaining some of its former functions. On the other hand, they highlight the pioneering role of more bottom‐up initiatives and innovative urban concepts, springing from the creative industries and maker movement. The article offers insights into the emerging uses and imaginaries attached to the district, while also showing the resilience and adaptation of port legacies.
Contemporary profit‐oriented development and consumption cultures have led to unsustainable behaviours and lifestyles and prevented our achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). This article explores how arts and aesthetics could form a trend of thought to reshape current production and consumption patterns. I argue that the Arts and Crafts movement of 19th‐century Britain provides many clues for today's industries and societies to create sustainable values, including its defence of labour value, promotion of arts education, and pursuit of nature and honest aesthetics. This article analyses the movement's historical contexts and vital propositions and associates them with the United Nations' SDGs. The implications are multidimensional and interconnected. Firstly, developing small‐scale and customised products or services that meet customers' cultural and life experiences might extend product longevity. In addition, such manufacturing transformation requires incorporating craft ideas into various industries and techniques and forging cross‐sector collaboration to enable open innovation and employment equity. Finally, enterprises could work with public sectors and cultural institutions to promote community empowerment and everyday aesthetics, cultivating public awareness of responsible production and ethical consumption. This paper provides interdisciplinary discourse to turn arts and crafts values into tangible schemes for sustainable development.
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There is consensus among scholars and policy makers that knowledge is one of the key drivers of long-run economic growth. It is also clear from the literature that not all knowledge has the same value. However, too often in economic geography and cognate fields we have been obsessed with counting knowledge inputs and outputs rather than assessing the quality of knowledge produced. In this article we measure the complexity of knowledge, we map the distribution and the evolution of knowledge complexity in US cities, and we explore how the spatial diffusion of knowledge is linked to complexity. Our knowledge complexity index rests on the bimodal network models of Hidalgo and Hausmann. Analysis is based on more than two million patent records from the US Patent and Trademark Office that identify the technological structure of US metropolitan areas in terms of the patent classes in which they are most active between 1975 and 2010. We find that knowledge complexity is unevenly distributed across the United States and that cities with the most complex technological structures are not necessarily those with the highest rates of patenting. Citation data indicate that more complex patents are less likely to be cited than less complex patents when citing and cited patents are located in different metropolitan areas.
This book offers insights into the process and the practice of local economic development. Bridging the gap between theory and practice it demonstrates the relevance of theory to inform local strategic planning in the context of widespread disparities in regional economic performance. The book summarizes the core theories of economic development, applies each of these to professional practice, and provides detailed commentary on them. This updated second edition includes more recent contributions - regional innovation, agglomeration and dynamic theories - and presents the major ideas that inform economic development strategic planning, particularly in the United States and Canada. The text offers theoretical insights that help explain why some regions thrive while others languish and why metropolitan economies often rise and fall over time. Without theory, economic developers can only do what is politically feasible. This text, however, provides them with a logical tool for thinking about development and establishing an independent basis from which to build the local consensus needed for evidence-based action undertaken in the public interest. Offering valuable perspectives on both the process and the practice of local and regional economic development, this book will be useful for both current and future economic developers to think more profoundly and confidently about their local economy. © 2021 Emil Malizia, Edward Feser, Henry Renski, and Joshua Drucker. All right reserved.
An updated version of this paper was published in Journal of Business Venturing. The article is available at: . Please cite the JBV version.
The maker movement has risen from a fringe hobby to a prominent lifestyle with important implications for economic development. In the past, tools have been available only to those working in firms and industry or those willing to pay for their procurement. The maker movement increases access to tools and training, potentially altering the capability of the general public to participate in product development. This study explores makerspaces and how they contribute to economic development through business generation and sustainment. Based on interviews with members and the management of makerspaces, along with local government officials in Georgia, the author finds four principal contributions to economic development: (a) creating a cultural change by encouraging entrepreneurship in the community, (b) supporting small business growth through the provision of services, (c) providing workforce training, and (d) increasing workforce retention. However, in part because of their recent development and small memberships, makerspaces are unlikely to launch many entrepreneurs into their communities anytime soon. As such, governments should avoid making excessive commitments to makerspaces before they provide greater evidence of tangible contributions, but allowing them an expanded role in formal education can enhance their ability to incubate a “maker” mind-set.
Scholars have documented economic gains for regions that promote manufacturing through co-location of innovation and production activities. But it is unclear whether the production jobs created in this new context remain inclusive of workers with limited formal education. This paper compares US states that specialize in biopharmaceuticals to understand who participates in a so-called working region. While some state policy-makers have privileged scientific and design occupations at the expense of the production workforce, regional actors in North Carolina have increased employment in design and development while growing their biopharmaceutical production base, aligning innovation and equity goals in the process.
Urban re-industrialisation could be seen as a method of increasing business effectiveness in the context of a politically stimulated ‘green economy’; it could also be seen as a nostalgic mutation of a creative-class concept, focused on 3D printing, ‘boutique manufacturing’ and crafts. These two notions place urban re-industrialisation within the context of the current neoliberal economic regime and urban development based on property and land speculation. Could urban re-industrialisation be a more radical idea? Could urban re-industrialization be imagined as a progressive socio-political and economic project, aimed at creating an inclusive and democratic society based on cooperation and a symbiosis that goes way beyond the current model of a neoliberal city? In January 2012, against the backdrop of the 2008 financial crisis, Krzysztof Nawratek published a text in opposition to the fantasy of a ‘cappuccino city,’ arguing that the post-industrial city is a fiction, and that it should be replaced by ‘Industrial City 2.0.’ Industrial City 2.0 is an attempt to see a post-socialist and post-industrial city from another perspective, a kind of negative of the modernist industrial city. If, for logistical reasons and because of a concern for the health of residents, modernism tried to separate different functions from each other (mainly industry from residential areas), Industrial City 2.0 is based on the ideas of coexistence, proximity, and synergy. The essays collected here envision the possibilities (as well as the possible perils) of such a scheme.
Government sponsorship of entrepreneurship has become a popular policy tool in the last 15 years. Despite this popularity, past academic studies have largely focused on firm-level survival rates and treated the effects of government sponsorship in isolation, which fails to capture the full effect of the sponsorship. That is, the objectives of the public sector include enhancing the macro-level entrepreneurial environment of the region as well as the success of individual firms. We expand research in this area through a case study in St. Louis, Missouri. We focus on the Arch Grants, a public–private coalition that provides $50,000 to 20 winners through their annual competition. Based on interviews of 46 recipient firms and 15 support organizations, we first demonstrate how government sponsorship can create a cohort of entrepreneurs who are able to learn from each other about business strategy, local mentors and other resources. Second, we uncover the process through which sponsorship can facilitate coordination among local entrepreneurship support organizations. Thus, we conclude that the evaluation of government sponsorship should go beyond the traditional firm-level performance measurement and consider the integration and enhancement of the local entrepreneurship ecosystem.