An exploration of the potential for re-distributed manufacturing to contribute to a sustainable, resilient city

Rachel Freeman, Christopher Alan McMahon, Patrick Godfrey

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Re-distributed manufacturing (RDM), broadly described as manufacturing done at a smaller-scale and locally, could be beneficial to business and urban society through creating jobs, reducing the environmental impacts of production, and improving resilience to future disturbances. Consideration of RDM within a city-region requires the consideration of a wide range of issues–societal, technical, economic and environmental. This paper presents the results of a study into the potential for RDM to contribute to a sustainable, resilient city in the face of a range of expected future disturbances on the city and on manufacturing sectors. The study took an integrated assessment approach which incorporated the development of a conceptual framework; a ‘strawman’ causal loop diagram which was reviewed by participants in a workshop; and a stock and flow system dynamics model that represents our understanding about the structure and behaviour of urban manufacturing. Several key themes emerged: similarities between RDM and traditional manufacturing, availability of physical space for RDM to be done, achieving urban resilience through RDM by enabling responsiveness to disturbances, changes in environmental impacts from production, additions or losses in jobs, the competitiveness of local manufacturing, and skills and innovation for RDM technologies. Further work is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Engineering
Issue number4-5
Pages (from-to)260-271
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Green supply chains
  • Re-distributed manufacturing
  • Resilience
  • Sustainable business models
  • Sustainable manufacture
  • Sustainable technology innovation
  • Environmental impact
  • Environmental technology
  • Supply chains
  • Sustainable development
  • Distributed manufacturing
  • Green supply chain
  • Sustainable business
  • Sustainable technology
  • Manufacture

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