London’s Maker Lifestyle

from The Monocle 100 – a special supplement of the December/January 2013/2014 issue of Monocle

As my graduate students grapple with new conceptions of Newmarket – Boston’s 1950s-era industrial zone – we have been tracking approaches to the revitalization of manufacturing in the US. The discourse ranges from labor and transportation cost issues being discussed by economists to the “maker” lifestyle espoused by 20 and 30-somethings in Brooklyn and Somerville. We liked Monocle’s take on the issue, despite the fact that it falls firmly in the lifestyle camp, because it highlights the advantages of a neighborhood of makers and suppliers. Importantly, land values need to be kept artificially low to sustain the kind of neighborhood that Monocle is championing. For a balanced view of the issues, check out the superb blog MAKELondon that Kevin Hively, our go-to economic development consultant, discovered. “MAKELondon is written and produced by Karl Baker, a recent graduate of the Cities Programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Karl wrote his dissertation on the opportunities of ‘industry-led’ urban regeneration, analysing a site in Islington London to reveal the potential and the challenges of small-scale industry in London.”