Collaborating Partner

This is a collaborative research initiative developed by the University of Melbourne and the five local government councils that are signatories to the Inner Melbourne Action Plan (IMAP) comprising the Cities of Melbourne, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Yarra and Maribyrnong. Other key stakeholders participating include Moreland Council, the Metropolitan Planning Authority and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport & Resources and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

What is the Urban Manufacturing research project?

The core goal of this study is to deliver policy-relevant findings that can guide the Inner Melbourne Action Plan (IMAP) councils in making strategic decisions about the use of employment land in the IMAP area. Underlying the core inquiry of this project is our over-arching hypothesis that small, high-value added, highly-innovative urban manufacturers in Melbourne can benefit significantly from the agglomeration economies associated with inner-urban locations, and that there is great value to the urban economy in preserving a place for manufacturing innovators in the central city and immediate inner suburban areas. The core goal of this study is to deliver policy-relevant findings that can guide the Inner Melbourne Action Plan (IMAP) councils in making strategic decisions about the use of employment land in the IMAP area. Underlying the core inquiry of this project is our over-arching hypothesis that small, high-value added, highly-innovative urban manufacturers in Melbourne can benefit significantly from the agglomeration economies associated with inner-urban locations, and that there is great value to the urban economy in preserving a place for manufacturing innovators in the central city and immediate inner suburban areas.

A multi-faceted approach designed to address several dimensions of the urban employment problem will be examined in the research covering the following aspects:

  1. The land approach (understand how employment land in inner Melbourne is currently being used
  2. The sector approach (understand the value of central locations for businesses in the small manufacturing sector)
  3. The economic approach (Understand the economic impacts and contributions of small urban manufacturers (the economic approach)

Key outputs of the study include:

  • Systematic capture of value chain data
  • Exploration of barriers to entry or growth
  • Further mapping of select firms’ spatial linkages with suppliers, collaborators, workers, distributors, customers and retailers
  • Estimation of agglomeration economies effects
  • Estimation of lost innovation and value added due to displacement effects.

For more details on the project visit www.imap.vic.gov.au

What is the background to this project?

A workshop was held in May 2015 inviting makers and government agencies, to communicate the objectives of the Urban Manufacturing Project and encourage their participation in the study, elicit their cooperation, and generate potential new partners. For makers, participation would mean providing their data in the form of interviews and survey responses. For state and federal government participants, our hope was that participation could mean providing data, joining as a partner for future funding efforts for the project, or endorsing the project. The workshop generated enthusiasm and promises of cooperation from the attendees, including makers, peak body leaders, academics, and representatives from local, state, and federal government

Makers attended whose businesses are located all IMAP councils, and also areas within the Moreland municipality. Overall, 23 makers attended from firms dealing in baking, IT, design and construction, fashion and apparel, textiles, coffee roasting, digital textile printing, drafting, framing, glass and woodworking, jewellery making, and film and television set production. Makers were keen to see a tangible symbol of their participation in the project. There was a real push to provide something value-added as part of Makers participation, in order for the information to be meaningful to them.

What is the relationship between makers.melbourne and the Urban Manufacturing project?

makers.melbourne is a website designed to provide a platform for makers to be visible to each other and the public. This site also allows makers to participate in a survey.

The Urban Manufacturing research project is a collaborative, applied research project being undertaken by the University of Melbourne, the five local government councils that are signatories to the Inner Melbourne Action Plan (IMAP), and the City of Moreland. The data collected on makers.melbourne will be used in the Urban Manufacturing project.

Where can I get further information?

If you have any questions or would like more information about the project please do not hesitate to contact the researchers at the contact details below. If you have any concerns about the conduct of the project which you do not wish to discuss with the research team please contact the Manager, Human Research Ethics, Office for Research Ethics and Integrity, The University of Melbourne, on ph: 8344 2073, or fax: 9347 6739.

Who Developed this Website?

makers.melbourne has been developed by Harvest Digital Planning, a local software studio that has had success with other online mapping engagement products and was the obvious choice in crowdsourcing a Maker community. The website provides the visible, technological representation that the makers asked for, and will also deliver the data needed to complete the research component of the Urban Manufacturing project.