Cities Manufacturing

Detroit’s Creative Corridor Sparks Small Manufacturing

TechShop CEO Mark Hatch speaks at Techonomy Detroit 2012.

TechShop CEO Mark Hatch speaks at Techonomy Detroit 2012.

Detroit may be known for its automobile manufacturing, but lately it has seen a burgeoning class of small manufacturers and makers of watches, bicycles, jeans, and other goods.

This is happening “just as the country experiences increasing consumption of domestically produced goods,” Crain’s Detroit reports. There is rising  interest in making and sourcing products domestically, and U.S. manufacturing is rebounding.

In Detroit, the urban manufacturing resurgence has been guided by organizations like the Detroit Creative Corridor Center, which has expanded its mission beyond creative-industry entrepreneurs. The city also has ample space for makers in old warehouses; Ponyride, for example, is a 30,000-square-foot space that has been transformed into an incubator for small businesses and artisans. TechShop Detroit offers monthly memberships to manufacturers for use of their design space and tools, such as plasma cutters and 3-D printers.

This flourishing DIY economy mirrors similar trends in cities like Brooklyn and San Francisco. But Detroit has a greater legacy of industry—and is much more desperate for an economic turnaround. Will these small, urban manufacturers provide the boost the city needs? This and more will be discussed at our Techonomy Detroit conference on September 17th.

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