This symposium brings together planning researchers from London and Melbourne to explore the past, present, and future of urban manufacturing and industrial lands.

Covid-19 highlighted the urgent need to address supply chain vulnerability, a lack of climate resilient industries, and workforce inequality. Zoning that supports urban manufacturing may offer new opportunities to promote sustainable development that addresses these challenges. Cities around the globe are now looking at ways to plan for industry by reintegrating production into denser, mixed industry areas. However, many cities face severe shortages of industrial land after decades of rezoning for mixed-use development. They often lack the tools to address pressures from competing or conflicting uses including housing and varied commercial and industrial uses. Moreover, contemporary industry patterns are founded on the long lineage of planning and zoning approaches, yet these may be out of sync with emerging industry conflicts.

This symposium will first share recent research by Dr. Jessica Ferm (University College London). Ferm draws attention to the changing industrial landscape and emerging market pressures for industrial land policy based on interviews with local planning officers across London. Following this, we will present research from a Monash-RMIT Australian Research Council Discovery project. This project brings together historical perspectives on planning for industry with insights into the contemporary challenges of planning for urban manufacturing. We conclude with a discussion on the future of urban manufacturing and industrial land for a thriving and inclusive economy. The symposium welcomes insights from others engaged in planning for urban manufacturing in research, practice and industry.


Dr. Jessica Ferm is an Associate Professor at the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London (UCL). She is a practice-focused academic with research interests in spatial planning, economic development, and social sustainability. Her primary area of current research activity explores the relationship between planning, development, and the ability of diverse and lower-value economic activities to thrive in cities. Jessica is an RTPI accredited town planner.

Professor Carl Grodach is Foundation Professor of Urban Planning and Design at Monash University. His research focuses on economic development planning with an emphasis on urban manufacturing and industrial lands, cultural industries, and circular economies. His books include Urban Revitalization: Remaking Cities in a Changing World (Routledge) and The Politics of Urban Cultural Policy: Global Perspectives (Routledge). He was the inaugural Director of Monash Urban Planning and Design from 2017-2022.

A/Professor Joe Hurley is a researcher with the Centre for Urban Research and lecturer in the Sustainability and Urban Planning Program at RMIT University. His research focuses on the intersection between urban systems, urban planning and urban policy in producing sustainable outcomes for cities. His work on green infrastructure featured significantly in the 2021 State of Environment Report and the 2019 Audit of Australian Infrastructure and has informed local government strategy and state planning systems reform.

Dr. Liz Taylor is a Senior Lecturer in Urban Planning and Design at Monash University. She has previously worked in research fellowship roles at RMIT and at Melbourne University. Often using spatial and historical perspectives, her research develops understanding of long-term urban change and the role of policy settings in it. Her research interests include car parking policies, liquor licensing history, Australia’s new city projects, affordable housing, and industrial land. She is the author of Dry Zones: Planning and the Hangovers of Liquor Licensing History (2019).

RMIT University and Monash University acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations as the traditional owners of the land on which this event will take place. We pay our respects to Elders, past, present and emerging and to all First Nations peoples.


RMIT Campus Building 80 (455 Swanston Street, Melbourne)

Level 3, Room 15

Enter from Swanston Street and go up one level via the stairs or escalator; room 15 is around to the left.

Online option also available. Register for the Teams link.


7 June 2023