Ilana Preuss: Saving Downtown with Small-Scale Manufacturing

When you’ve got a friend or family member visiting you from out of town, where do you take that person? After you’ve said your hellos and they’ve dropped off their bags, where is the fun place you head to show them what your community is all about? Is it, by chance, a brewery, or the farmers market stand with the homemade cheese and sausage, or maybe it’s a cute jewelry shop on main street that makes all their own stuff…  

There’s something about a locally-crafted food or good that just instills in us a pride for our place. It’s about saying: “This is my community and here’s what we’re capable of making.”

Ilana Preuss is an urban planner and founder of a company called Recast City, which helps build communities where small-scale manufacturing businesses can thrive. She’s also the author of a new book called Recast Your City: How to Save Your Downtown with Small-Scale Manufacturing and today she joins Rachel Quednau on The Bottom-Up Revolution podcast to talk about her work and why small-scale manufacturing can and should be the beating heart of your city.

Preuss shares how small-scale manufacturing can reinvigorate downtowns, build local pride and create meaningful opportunities for entrepreneurs to start businesses and scale up.  She also outlines the steps that local leaders can take to make space for this manufacturing renaissance to occur and shares examples of this work in action across the country. It’s about building on the energy and manufacturing already present in your community, and harnessing that to make your town stronger. 

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