Modern Industry
In Cities:
Policy Of Technological Versatility And Green Operation

The industrial sector has long been a source of wealth for the developed economies in Europe and North America. In the 1970s, the situation started changing: the third industrial revolution began and led to the integration of industries in urban development schemes to meet the digital economy needs. Then, manufacturing industries in developed countries started losing its importance as an integral component of the economic growth.
The widespread penetration of Internet technology in all economy sectors led the first world countries to a post-industrial stage of development. Leading drivers were rather a combination of knowledge and technology than the material production of goods. Since the 1980s, Europe first supported by the European Economic Community and then by the European Union began to implement strategies to adapt manufacturing industries to the changed conditions led by technological versatility and green operation. The digitalization brought up new trends manufacturing in industries.
Small Scale. Plants and factories that occupied entire urban areas were replaced by small industrial prototype development facilities, while the main production facilities moved to other parts of the world.

Research Intensity. This trend has resulted from the introduction of high technologies and automation, what is contributing to the development of complex production sectors (pharma, computer technology, chemical industry, production of high-precision parts and chips).

Green Operation and Sustainability. Traditional heavy industries were causing serious damage to the environment by emitting harmful substances into the atmosphere on a daily basis. Nowadays there are requirements not only to the use of advanced technologies in the industry, but also to the organization of the production process, its green operation.

Integration Level with Internet of Things. The technology is implemented by interconnecting computer networks and connecting them to industrial sites with built-in sensors for data collection, monitoring and control without human intervention.

Changes in the form and organization of industry affected the sites of its concentration – the cities, many of them not only had numerous plants and factories, but also were industrial centers. Most of them faced deindustrialization – a large-scale reduction of production and employment in the manufacturing sector.

In this context, the adaptation of former industrial cities and their reorientation towards new industries became a major challenge for Western European governments. The EU structures responsible for general economic policy and industry helped helped the cities to develop a common approach to adapt to modern realities as follows:

  • restoration of land resources;
  • redevelopment of industrial areas;
  • development of housing programs and social infrastructure;
  • R&D development and use of R&D achievements in new industries;
  • reorientation of large-scale production facilities and their complication (production becomes small in scale, but creates high-precision expensive products);
  • creation of programs for professional retraining of workers in order to make them able to operate complex machines and high-precision equipment.

The experiences of Manchester (UK), Lille (France) and Essen (Germany) show that despite the decline of their traditional industries, these cities have managed to qualitatively change their industrial sectors and to oriented them towards the knowledge economy, high technology and skilled workforce. In turn, vast areas of former production facilities have also been qualitatively integrated into the transformed urban space in a variety of forms: residential development, precision manufacturing centers or exhibition/trade fair spaces.

Traditional industries:
  • iron and steel industry;
  • non-ferrous metal industry;
  • coal industry;
  • production of fabrics and clothing;
  • leather industry;
  • woodworking;
  • car making industry;
  • energy sector (oil, coal, gas).

"New" Industries:
  • energy saving and energy efficiency (technologies, equipment, lights and lighting systems);
  • biotechnology (biofuels, bioenergy, biochemistry and others);
  • production of complex computer machines;
  • flexible materials;
  • space industry;
  • 3D technology;
  • production of plastics and chemical fibers;
  • electrotechnical and electronic industry;
  • telecommunication technology.


This city was one of the first in Europe to experience a significant decline in industrial production and where the administration begun to reorganize its industrial heritage with the help of EU funds.

Manchester had been actively developing high-precision manufacturing since the 1980s, The growth of these industries had been facilitated by policies to develop the knowledge industry in the city.

In 2012, the Manchester City Council approved a development strategy for 2012-2027, which prioritized development of the knowledge economy, investment in high-tech and creative industries, and urban development. The strategy also included re-development of former industrial areas transformed into technology parks and residential complexes. Part of the sites were planned to be reformatted for industrial tourism.
View of Manchester city center, UK


The city was the leading center of textile industry in France in the era of industrial development. Because of the crisis in this sector, Lille was forced to change the specialization of labor. The city's strategy was to redevelop industrial areas, to improve the transport system and to revitalize spaces where industrial facilities were no longer needed.

Priority Manufacturing Industries in Lille:

  • logistics;
  • health care and pharma;
  • smart textile production;
  • high-precision production;
  • waste management.

Industrial Redevelopment Projects:

  • Eurasanté technopark (biotechnology and genetic engineering centers);
  • Euratechnologie (a 100-hectare business incubator that encourages investment and development in hi-tech in finance, engineering and medicine);
  • Euralille (transfer hub and office center in Lille).
Renovated industrial buildings next to office buildings and banks. Lille, France


One the former leading centers in the German heavy and coal industries faced massive decline in the last decades of the 20th century. The policy of city industrial transformation began in the 1980s and was characterized by significant involvement of private entrepreneurs and attention to the city environmental problems.

A new strategy for industrial development of the city was presented in 2007, it aimed at the creating high-precision and environmentally friendly production facilities in the following sectors:
  • high-precision production of instruments and parts;
  • biotechnology
  • electrical engineering;
  • renewable energy sources;
  • automated welding production.

Former industrial sites were transformed within redevelopment and turned into:
  • technology parks (Zollverein);
  • exhibition/trade fair spaces (Scheidt'sche Hallen);
  • development centers of creative industries (Zeche Bonifacius);
  • multifunctional development (KU 28);
  • full-fledged residential neighborhoods (Grugacaree).
The Zollverein mine after redevelopment: industrial park and open-air industrial history museum. Essen, Germany
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