Urban Re-industrialization

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* Book: Urban Re-industrialization. Edited by Krzysztof Nawratek. Punctum Books, 2017

URL = https://punctumbooks.com/titles/urban-re-industrialization/


"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."


Introduction: Urban Re-industrialization as a Political Project (Krzysztof Nawratek)

PART 1: Why Should We Do It?

  1. Re-industrialisation as Progressive Urbanism: Why and How? (Michael Edwards & Myfanwy Taylor) —
  2. Mechanisms of Loss (Karol Kurnicki) —
  3. The Cultural Politics of Re-industrialisation: Some Remarks on Cultural and Urban Policy in the European Union (Jonathan Vickery)

PART 2: Political Considerations and Implications

  1. ‘Shrimps not whales’: Building a City of Small Parts as an Alternative Vision for Post-industrial Society (Alison Hulme) —
  2. ‘Der Arbeiter’: (Re) Industrialisation as Universalism? (Krzysztof Nawratek) —
  3. Whose Re-industrialisation? Greening the Pit or Taking Over the Means of Production? (Malcolm Miles) —
  4. Crowdsourced Urbanism? The Maker Revolution and the Creative City 2.0. (Doreen Jakob) —
  5. Brave New World? (Tatjana Schneider) —
  6. The Political Agency of Geography and the Shrinking City (Jeffrey T. Kruth)

PART 3: How Should We Do It?

  1. Beyond the Post-Industrial City? The Third Industrial Revolution, Digital Manufacturing and the Transformation of Homes into Miniature Factories (John R. Bryson, Jennifer Clark, & Rachel Mulhall) —
  2. Conspicuous Production: Valuing the Visibility of Industry in Urban Re-industrialisation Strategies (Karl Baker) —
  3. Industri[us] (Christina Norton) — Working with the Neighbours: Co-operative Practices Delivering Sustainable Benefits (Kate Royston) —
  4. Low-carbon (Re-)industrialisation: Lessons from China (Kevin Lo & Mark Yaolin Wang)


Interview of the author conducted by Ewen Chardronnet:

  • Your book 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), the Industrial City 2.0 must be based on the ideas of coexistence, proximity and synergy.” Could you explain?

KN: The are two main reasons—one is practical, the other is ethical. Practical is based on an idea of industrial ecology, with a Kalundborg Eco-Industrial Park as probably the best example of how clustering diverse industries could benefit them all. Cities, mainly European and Asian cities, could already be seen as dense socio-economical ecosystems; therefore Industrial City 2.0 just taps into existing connections and makes them stronger, more synergetic. Ethical argument is to some extent similar—making existing linkages stronger, creating new relationships, building synergies that create a more inclusive city. Radical Inclusivity was the title and theme of my previous book. I am extremely interested in the idea of radical inclusivity, I see it as an alternative to Marxists’ idea of class war or a Schmittian idea of conflict as an essence of politics.

  • You mention the fact that re-industrialization in Western Europe and in the United States only really started a few years ago, when the 2008 economic crisis bankrupted the urban development model based on real estate speculation and liquid capitalism. Barcelona and Paris support relocation through micro-industry, while other neoliberal politics encourage gentrification of city centers by the creative classes, promoting “industry 4.0” and massive robotization. What’s your opinion on this?

Neoliberal politics, as David Harvey rightly said, is a “revenge” of capital after years of the welfare state era. Neoliberal politics were and are about transferring power from a relatively democratic and egalitarian post-welfare society to the capitalist elite. Robotization and creative class gentrification are just new symptoms of the same old neoliberalism. The goal is the same: to create a static, hierarchical society. I am not against hierarchies. I am fascinated by the Barcelona case (especially the Poblenou neighborhood project), where bottom-up and top-down forces meet. I think it is too early to assess this project, but it looks very promising. Industrial City 2.0 is definitely a non-neoliberal project—it is an attempt to create an inclusive, egalitarian but also economically robust city.


  • You say we have lost the etymological meaning of the word “manufacture” (to make by hand). Fablab culture often channels the criticism received by the poor origins of products manufactured in the 19th century by the Arts and Crafts movement, which promoted trade skills, artisanship and handcraft. Could there be a risk of new “proto-industrial” capitalism in this contemporary fascination for micro-factories?

Any obsession, if taken out of context, is dangerous and/or silly. I am not part of the maker movement; I am not even so much interested in a re-industrialization as such. AI is coming, robotization is strengthening—these are unstoppable processes. As you mentioned earlier, neoliberal politicians are pretty excited about getting rid of the working class completely. The essence of the urban re-industrialization I am talking about is the idea of inclusivity, an attempt to (re?)create an urban community as a strong political and economical subject. Re-industrialization could help rebuild linkages and synergies already existing in cities, combined with a notion of total mobilization that could lead to a city as an inclusive society, where nobody is left out. This is also a society without waste. Urban re-industrialization is a tool, not an end goal. Re-industrialization is a political project." (http://www.makery.info/en/2017/05/16/krzysztof-nawratek-reindustrialiser-la-ville-est-un-projet-politique/)