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The relationship between cities and industry is constantly evolving. The industrial revolution spurred large-scale urbanization as new technologies enabled the adoption of water wheels, coal-fired steam power, and intercity railways, dramatically changing the urban landscape.  From a historical perspective, we can identify four key periods in the evolution of city-industry relationships:[1]

(1) Mercantile City: Pre-Industrial Revolution.  The primary mode of production in this period was artisanal manufacturing in individual households; therefore, manufacturing activities were closely integrated with residential and commercial activities.  The merchants’ town that grew from the trade of goods and wholesale products became one of the defining patterns of urbanization in Western civilization.


(2) Industrial City: 1750 – 1880. The evolution of textile manufacturing and steam-engine technologies revolutionized production processes. Consequently, cities experienced unprecedented population increases, with manufacturing driving urbanization and economic growth.


(3) Planned City: 1880 – 1970.  Toward the end of the 19th century, planning models suggested zoning regulations to handle the problem of factories’ nuisance activities.  The attempt to provide healthier living conditions for factory workers took shape in the form of company towns and Garden Cities, which later served as a prototypes for towns built after the end of World War II.[2] Countries such as United Kingdom, Israel, Russia, Iran, Sweden, and Japan also implemented these principles in construction of new towns, designating industrial lands as part of newly planned cities; however, these industrial areas were typically situated to have the lowest possible effect on residential areas. 


(4) Piecemeal City: 1970 – present.  During the 1970s, many countries, especially in the Western world, experienced rapid deindustrialization, and planning tools were developed to further segregate industrial activities from other land uses. The trend against locating manufacturing next to other uses, coupled with Euclidean zoning practices that essentially prioritized residential and commercial uses of real estate over all others, particularly manufacturing, resulted in a massive loss of industrial land to commercial and residential uses in many cities.  This trend in urban planning theory and practice further increased the divide between home and work, as the desire to maintain real estate values pressured development away from lower valued industry towards other, more profitable uses.

Why is a particular prototype used in a particular city-region? Which of the prototypes is the most adaptive to environmental and social challenges? What parameters are being used to decide where manufacturing is sited? Which prototype serves the 21st century city best?  What is manufacturing going to look like in the city of tomorrow?


The diagram depicts abstract relationships between industrial typology and geographical location. Storage & Distribution facilities are located in the hinterlands, and tend to be sited where land values are the lowest. Industrial Parks are typically located far from city centers, either in the country or suburbs, or on the urban periphery. This form emerged after World War II and often dominates the industrial landscape today. 

Office parks are similar to industrial parks, but tend to support service industries, which are less land-intensive and depend less on rail and water transportation. They typically contain dense concentrations of white- and pink-collar employees, and due to their smaller footprints, (and lack of harmful industrial waste), they may be located within cities. Legacy Urban Factories exist within the city itself, even within Central Business Districts.  These factories have often been grandfathered into cities that have otherwise made industrial uses illegal through land-use regulations. Eco-Industrial Parks most closely resemble the Industrial Parks identified previously, but they are organized around the common goal of environmental sustainability. Innovation Clusters are designed to benefit from agglomeration: that is, individual firms in similar industries can increase their productivity through their proximity to one another. These tend to be vertically integrated, including research, administration, production, and distribution.

Existing Industrial Typologies: Program and Geography

This chronological evolution had an enormous economic, social, and spatial influence on cities, and contributed to the creation of three contemporary prototypes of industrial spaces:[3] the integrated, the adjacent and the autonomous:

 Prototypes of Industrial areas  

These prototypes demonstrate three idealized stages in the separation of manufacturing from the city, the strengthening of the central management of industrial zones, and the influence of international companies on local economies and physical spaces

Integrated                                 Adjacent                                      Autonomous

Layered                                      Parallel                                         Unified

Mixed                                         Partial Zoning                             Zoning

Diverse                                       Diverse                                           Constant


























Industrial                             Residential fabric                Public/commercial/open spaces                      Roads/transportation

Integrated. Residential, commercial and industrial land uses are fused or closely located in space. Often resulting from (unplanned) growth, manufacturing is an integral part of the city's structure. Different use-areas do not have clear, distinct borders and tend to dissolve into each other across the urban fabric.


Adjacent. Industrial and residential land uses are segregated by design and policy into distinct areas of the city (often via a physical barrier or natural elements), in an attempt to isolate incompatible land uses and prevent environmental hazards.


Autonomous.Standalone industrial/business parks or large factories are sited to work autonomously.  Functioning as independent campuses, industrial areas are surrounded by open spaces and located in proximity to railways, highways, and airports, prioritizing the efficient movement of materials, finished goods, and laborers.

These prototypes—integrated, adjacent and autonomous—demonstrate three idealized stages in the separation of manufacturing from the city, the strengthening of the central management of industrial zones, and the influence of international companies on local economies and physical spaces.


[1] Kim, M., Ben-Joseph, E., "Manufacturing and the City,” paper presented at the annual meeting for the American Collegiate Schools of Planning, Dublin, Ireland, July, 2013.  

[2] The creation of model company towns was particularly evident in Britain in the latter half of the 19th century, with the establishment of Saltaire (1888), Bournville (1895), Port Sunlight, Creswell, and New Earswick. In the United States, one of the first company towns to be built was Pullman, Chicago (1880).

[3] Hatuka, T., Bar, R., Battat, M., Zilberdik, Y., Hanany, C.,  Hefetz, S., Jacobson, M., Lothan, H., City-Industry. Resling, Tel Aviv, 2014 (Hebrew) (In press).

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