Factory - Siting The Factory

Siting The Factory

Before the advent of mass transportation, factories' needs for ever-greater concentrations of laborers meant that they typically grew up in an urban setting or fostered their own urbanization. Industrial slums developed, and reinforced their own development through the interactions between factories, as when one factory's output or waste-product became the raw materials of another factory (preferably nearby). Canals and railways grew as factories spread, each clustering around sources of cheap energy, available materials and/or mass markets. The exception proved the rule: even greenfield factory sites such as Bournville, founded in a rural setting, developed its own housing and profited from convenient communications systems.

Regulation curbed some of the worst excesses of industrialization's factory-based society, a series of Factory Acts leading the way in Britain. Trams, automobiles and town planning encouraged the separate development of industrial suburbs and residential suburbs, with laborers commuting between them.

Though factories dominated the Industrial Era, the growth in the service sector eventually began to dethrone them: the focus of labor in general shifted to central-city office towers or to semi-rural campus-style establishments, and many factories stood deserted in local rust belts.

The next blow to the traditional factories came from globalization. Manufacturing processes (or their logical successors, assembly plants) in the late 20th century re-focussed in many instances on Special Economic Zones in developing countries or on maquiladoras just across the national boundaries of industrialized states. Further re-location to the least industrialized nations appears possible as the benefits of out-sourcing and the lessons of flexible location apply in the future.

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Famous quotes containing the word factory:

    Baltimore lay very near the immense protein factory of Chesapeake Bay, and out of the bay it ate divinely. I well recall the time when prime hard crabs of the channel species, blue in color, at least eight inches in length along the shell, and with snow-white meat almost as firm as soap, were hawked in Hollins Street of Summer mornings at ten cents a dozen.
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