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2018: Assessment of the Maker Economy in Detroit

Student-Led, Faculty Guided Project - 2018

Authors: Robin Boyle, Wayne State University


For many commentating on national trends, the 'maker economy' is a network of inventors, artisans and entrepreneurs dedicated to designing and making, and being committed to the places where they live. The maker economy has been encouraged by and employs new technologies and systems that in the past facilitate individuals or small businesses to design, make and merchandise products and services that were only available to larger business entities. The proposal as outlined builds off a metropolitan-wide study of the emerging maker economy conducted in UP 6550 - Introduction to Local Economic Development, an elective course in the WSU Master of Urban Planning program. This work, completed by 20 graduate students (under the guidance of Professor Robin Boyle) in the winter semester (Jan-April) 2017 addressed whether a 'maker economy has developed in Southeast Michigan, particularly Detroit, who are the "maker" enterprises, what support systems ("enablers") exit to assist emerging or growing firms identified in the maker economy and what are the perceived gaps in the services; supports provided by the facilitators; support organizations?

Author Information

Robin Boyle Robin Boyle, Wayne State University

Dr. Robin Boyle is a Professor of Urban Planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at Wayne State University. Robin was born and educated in Scotland, UK; he studied at the Glasgow School of Art and attended the University of Reading, UK. Robin is a board member of Greening of Detroit, Metro Matters [Michigan Suburbs Alliance], and Urban Land Institute (Michigan). He is also on the advisory board of Redevelopment Ready Communities (MEDC); Regional Economic Innovation (MSU); Detroit Revitalization Fellows program (WSU). Robin's research interests focus on public policies and planning for large cities, with an emphasis on governance and economic development in a metropolitan context.

Drew Lucco Drew Lucco

Drew currently works as a Small Business Development Manager for the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. Drew facilitates matchmaking between small businesses seeking commercial space and property owners looking for tenants within the City's flagship small business program, Motor City Match. In addition, he works directly with the Planning and Development Department, the Housing and Revitalization Department, and the office of the Mayor to align small business development strategies with neighborhood framework planning efforts. Drew also coordinates the DEGC's efforts to help businesses implement energy efficiency and green stormwater infrastructure strategies. He is a 2018 graduate of the Wayne State Masters of Urban Planning program with a certificate in Economic Development.

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