Maker City

How to accelerate opportunity inside our cities and towns

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About Us

We wrote the book on the Maker City.  Based on our interviews with 50+ practitioners across 100 cities and towns, we’ve come up with some strong hypothesis as to how accelerate economic opportunity inside our cities and towns, to create jobs capable of lifting people into the middle class.

  • It starts with education, exposing young people to the tools of production early.  It ends with creating a strong ecosystem inside your city and town to create lasting upward mobility. Examples include Louisville (KY), Pittsburgh (PA), San Leandro (CA).
  • We’ve prepared a 10 point checklist of what you can do locally to set the stage, to start to turn your city or town into a Maker City™.
  • The checklist is designed for Mayors, economic development officers, policy leaders, and others interested in creating positive change locally.  Included is a list of policy changes to advocate for at the state or federal level.

Theory of Change


Identify Leaders

Identify a set of Maker Cities that are leading the way in leveraging the Maker movement and advances in manufacturing to create jobs and lasting economic opportunity.

Tell Stories

Of the people, organizations, and investments that are making a difference inside the Maker City. Stories underline what is possible and make it easier to "rinse and repeat" what works


Connect cities and towns with the resources they need to accelerate change


Codify best practices and build local capacity for change

Measure Results

Measure results in terms of Resilient Jobs created

Programs Under Development

None of these programs are funded (yet). These are programs that are actively on our drawing board.

Our goal is to get at least 3 of these programs funded and off the drawing board in 2017.

Maker City U.
An online course targeting young people in community colleges and universities. Builds capacity to understand ecosystem and what is lacking so as to effect change.
Maker City U.
The goal is to recruit representatives from 5-6 different cities and towns to take the online course at the time. Includes mentoring and coaching to set up public | private partnerships.
Workforce Development Toolkit
A toolkit - not unlike the one created by our partner at the Pratt Center - on how cities and towns can access the needs of the major corporate employers.
Workforce Development Toolkit
Provides tools to better align employer needs with the curriculum and offerings of high schools, community colleges, and research universities.
Resilient Jobs Index
Created in conjunction with the Brookings Institution
Resilient Jobs Index
Created in conjunction with Brookings Institution, a metric that defines Resilient Jobs and measures the number of such jobs created on an ongoing basis.
Maker City Heroes
Identify the people and organizations that are leading change in cities and towns.
Maker City Heroes
Tell stories in video or a podcast format.  Includes a contest and appropriate reward for the top ranking cities and towns and their associated heroes.
Maker City Game
One simulation is worth a thousand words.
Maker City Game
A fun and engaging online game to showcase the impact of different investment strategies on the growth of Resilient Jobs.
National Manufacturing Policy Agenda
Created in conjunction with the Brookings Institution

A policy agenda designed to rebuild manufacturing

National Manufacturing Policy Agenda
Targeting heartland states and cities and towns affected by severe job loss e.g. plant closings and the decline of coal mining

In addition to the above programs, we are working with U.S. News to create a Maker City ranking, much like it’s ranking of colleges or countries.

We also are available to hire as consultants to strengthen the Maker City initiative in your city or town and to encourage the private-sector to better align with the needs of the Maker City.

What's New


February 21, 2017 in Press

What Should Cities Make?

By Amanda Kolson Hurley for CityLab When President Donald Trump announced his Manufacturing Jobs Initiative last month, he was moving forward on a promise he made over and over during his campaign: to make…

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January 18, 2017 in Press

Policy Brief from Making to Manufacturing | A New Model for Economic Development in Cities and Towns

By Pratt Center for Community Development Urban manufacturing is being reborn in the United States. New small-batch producers are creating well-paying jobs in many cities that were once abandoned by…

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January 4, 2017 in Press

Five ways the Maker Movement can help catalyze a manufacturing renaissance

By Mark Muro and Peter Hirshberg Amid the hoopla of celebrating a deal to save 800 jobs at a Carrier Corp. factory in Indiana last month, President-elect Donald Trump promised…

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February 5, 2016 in Press

Software eats manufacturing (and manufacturing gains)

States and metropolitan areas need to focus. Ultimately, many in the group agreed that states and localities have key roles to play if U.S. metropolitan areas are going to monetize…

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February 20, 2017 in Blog

What RI Is Doing to Create Economic Opportunity

I’m from Rhode Island – if I’m from anywhere that is. (My father was an academic … and the only people who move more than academics are military men and…

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January 30, 2017 in Blog

The Pernicious Effect of the Housing Crisis on Manufacturing Jobs

The housing crisis of 2007/8 is the very definition of the gift that keeps on giving. A decade later we see that much of the country continues to find it’s…

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January 23, 2017 in Blog

What the Foxconn display plant choice tells us about the future of manufacturing in the United States and China.

Hint: its not about repatriating old jobs at all. As President Trump is learning, it’s as so simple as badgering Apple to repatriate manufacturing of the iPhone to the United…

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January 10, 2017 in Blog

White House, meet Burning Man: A Coda to the Obama Era

An extraordinary coda to the Obama era is the story of the White House and Burning Man. As Dale Dougherty and I were developing the Maker City project, we worked…

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