Declan Martin

Exploring how urban manufacturers and cultural producers have adapted and survived in high-cost inner cities.

PhD candidate

  • Declan Martin


  • Professor Carl Grodach
    Monash Art, Design and Architecture
  • Dr Xin Gu
    Monash University (School of Media, Film and Journalism, Faculty of Arts)

Despite decades of re-structuring, small manufacturing and cultural production has persisted in inner-urban areas. This research examines how cultural manufacturers have adapted to inform a more progressive approach to urban and cultural policy.

Declan Martin

In response to overseas competition and fluctuating macroeconomic conditions, manufacturing in developed cities has progressively shifted toward less trade-exposed activities, most of which have connections to the cultural industries.

These activities include production that is difficult to outsource due to time sensitivities and transportation issues (e.g. architectural interiors, event installations and sets), as well as production that requires place-based cultural knowledge (e.g. specialty printing, fashion clothing, jewellery, furniture and crafts). This type of production, defined as cultural manufacturing, is typically carried out by small-to-medium enterprises with varied labour demands and limited internal capacities. Consequently, cultural manufacturers seek out inner-city industrial spaces proximate to specialist workers and markets. In the context of high-cost cities, these locational preferences conflict with land use policy that rezones inner-ring industrial space and plans for industry on the suburban fringe.

This research explores these tensions focusing on:

  1. how industrial zoning affects intra-urban clustering patterns
  2. how cultural manufacturers have adapted to remain in the central city. The aim is to highlight the complex spatial logics of industries operating at the interface of knowledge-based services and manufacturing frequently overlooked in urban policy and scholarship.