2015 Canadian Urban Manufacturing Summit

The Canadian Urban Manufacturing Summit addressed a wide variety of challenges and opportunities facing urban manufacturing in the 21st century. Idea Engine, a group that focuses on planning and policy-related meetings, held the conference on May 6 and 7 at the Regency Hyatt in Toronto. Presenters and panelists varied from government agencies, the private sector, start-ups, and small-scale manufacturers. 

The conference pointed to some major gaps between planning and economic development initiatives. Some of these gaps are related to the lack of support and guidance for manufacturers attempting to navigate the planning processes. Many participants also identified an overarching mismatch between the policy goals of economic development and those of land-use planning. There was significant discussion of industrially serviced land and its importance to the province’s certified site selection program. 

Some major themes throughout the conference were:

•    Manufacturing is still a valuable part of local economies, but it is changing.
•    There is a need to protect employment lands and a need for greater flexibility in zoning to allow for emerging types of manufacturing, particularly with regards to multiple manufacturers operating in the same space. 
•    The trend toward buying local is still growing, and has the opportunity to build communities in areas where certain industries have left.
•    Industrial retention is as important as industrial attraction.
•    Different levels of government have begun to collaborate on new strategies to allow for manufacturing to thrive in Canadian cities.

Below are some photos from our site visit to 3DPhacktory