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Pratt Center helps lead national Equitable Innovation Economies Program with four-city pilot

Brooklyn’s Pratt Center for Community Development is spearheading a national urban-development strategy that sets inclusivity benchmarks for economic success. Photo credit: Pratt

In order to support and develop equitable, inclusive urban innovation and manufacturing economies, Brooklyn’s Pratt Center for Community Development, Oakland-based PolicyLink and the national Urban Manufacturing Alliance created the Equitable Innovation Economies project. Over the past two years, EIE’s pilot brought together four cities – New York City, Indianapolis, San Jose and Portland (Oregon) – to collaborate, rather than compete, on longterm economic development. The four cities are sharing research, strategies and data to foster and track inclusive planning. Earlier this month, Pratt released City Snapshots of each initiative, which we summarize below.

Over the past two years, each city developed public-private investments to intentionally break down innovation barriers that are holding back equitable development. The EIE team worked with cities to help advise on programmatic strategy, capture results and set next steps. While the goals in each city – increasing economic diversity, re-establishing manufacturing and training local workforce – are similar, the footprints have their own flavor.  Read more

Will New York City Become a Federally Designated Manufacturing Community?

Albany-born US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand toured New York advanced manufacturing hubs to promote federal legislation that would continue President Obama’s official designation of Manufacturing Communities. Her tour included two NYC destinations in Boyce Technologies (pictured here) and Manufacture New York. Credit: Boycetechinc instagram

Earlier this week, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited Long Island City’s Boyce Technologies and Sunset Park’s Manufacture New York to promote manufacturing legislation. If passed, her Made in America Manufacturing Communities Act of 2016 will allow suburban and urban regions to apply for official manufacturing designation. With $1.3 billion in federal economic development funding for manufacturing, earning the Manufacturing Community title will help funding applicants, essentially, move to the front of the line. Read more

How Imagination and Networks are Driving the Rise of New York City Manufacturing

Google Headquarters in New York. SITU Fabrication’s CNC-milled aluminum panels run down the length of the Google lobby. Brand offices are using architecture to tell their stories, and that means custom concepts not just unique materials. Credit: SITU Fabrication

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, New York City is enjoying a manufacturing renaissance. Jobs are up 1,100 over the past year, the longest sustained growth in decades. Charlie Euchner’s report for the Center for an Urban Future shed light on job growth and a trio of manufacturing sectors: 3D printing, metal and wood fabrication and food manufacturing. We explored the first two and chatted with Euchner, ITAC Executive Director Kinda Younes and Voodoo Manufacturing Director of Manufacturing Jim Allen. The goal? To better define how we’re thinking about New York City manufacturing today.

What we found is that defining manufacturing is less about volume and materials than it is about market-based needs. New York City’s fabrication and printing sectors are services and agencies rather than assembling product. The signature of New York City manufacturing seems to be translating client visions into the physical world – whether it’s one-off fabrication for a museum or a series of trophies for VH1’s Hip Hop Honors. It’s a zero-inventory approach that’s markedly different from 19th and 20th century assembly lines and leading to a surge of growth across the city. Read more