MISTA – Metropolitan Industrial Strategies & Economic Sprawl


Urban economies change ever more rapidly. Businesses and products, and the technologies used to develop them, come and go. They grow, shrink, reinvent themselves or change their location altogether, on a global scale. Besides the strong service economy in most cities, there is also a substantial need for producing and handling material goods, even in urban economies that are not export-oriented. In our case we loosely refer to this as “metropolitan industry”.

Urban politicians and planners have to manage these challenging dynamics, as urban areas are not only host for many industrial workplaces, but their populations also depend on their jobs, products and tax revenue. New metropolitan industries require suitable locations, facilities and buildings – often with requests to be provided within months – while on the other hand existing structures become obsolete and are turned into “brownfields” or transformed into areas for other urban uses, lost for productive work for good. By contrast, urban planning, investment and development is a long term, cautious and slow process.

MISTA takes on a part of this challenge and looks at the recent past and the future of metropolitan industries. What kinds of physical work like manufacturing, logistics, utilities or repairing and recycling will or can we have in urban areas? What are the spatial requirements of such businesses, and where do they need to locate to be successful? And finally: what are the ensuing consequences for urban and regional governance, and how can spatial planning react to these needs?

Stakeholders’ knowledge needs

  • Do we have an updated understanding of contemporary manufacturing sectors?
  • What is the nature of current processes of deindustrialisation and re-industrialisation in large urban areas?
  • What is the current and what will be the future relationship between the city and the industry?
  • What are the manifold consequences of the restructuring of the urban economic base and the reorganisation of the manufacturing sector in large European urban areas?
  • Is it possible to produce strategic visions, based on an exercise of scenario making about the future relationship between the city and the manufacturing system?
  • Can these scenarios be the base for new forms of agency for the cities to have a role in this policy field?

Main outcomes

Metropolitan areas are experiencing considerable challenges related to the restructuring of their economic base: many cities have seen a considerable decline in manufacturing and of their productive economy. As industrial activities grow or re-adjust to global distribution chains, many businesses are looking for well-connected sites on the fringes of metropolitan areas. Furthermore, as industrial businesses feel more pressure in inner-city areas - such as congestion, land values and air quality restrictions - their land is often being seized upon for other forms of activities such as housing or even green space.

Conversely the place of manufacturing is back on the agenda for many cities. Trends are emerging which are suggesting that the increasingly peripheralisation of industrial activities is both undesirable and even dangerous for metropolitan areas. The main expected outcome of the project is to support stakeholders in finding their way in developing a new relationship between the city and the industry.


  • City of Vienna (lead stakeholder), AT
  • City of Oslo, NO
  • City of Berlin, DE
  • City of Warsaw, PL
  • Riga Planning Region
  • Turin Metropolitan City, IT
  • Verband Region Stuttgart, DE


  • Politecnico di Milano, IT
  • Latitude Brussels, BE
  • Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO), AT
  • Metropolitan Research Institute Budapest (MRI), HU


€ 264,400.00


October 2019 – October 2020


  • Inception delivery, 4 November 2019
  • Interim delivery, 4 May 2020
  • Final delivery, 19 December 2020


Gavin Daly (Senior Project Expert) [email protected]; Andreea China (Project Expert) [email protected]; Marta Roca (Financial Expert) [email protected]



  • Acrobat Document | 1.40MB


  • Acrobat Document | 374KB


  • Acrobat Document | 4.95MB


  • Acrobat Document | 2.30MB


  • Acrobat Document | 2.99MB


  • Acrobat Document | 1.83MB


  • Acrobat Document | 2.28MB


  • Acrobat Document | 2.82MB


  • Acrobat Document | 3.18MB


  • Acrobat Document | 2.85MB


  • Acrobat Document | 10.81MB