Down here in Harris County there is a lot of expansion of heavy industrial fabrication going on. We toured a facility in Pasadena (Ventech) where they are adding additional workspace. I was impressed.
“I am betting heavily on San Francisco, for its energy and creativity,” Liam Casey told me in China. He didn’t quote Jane Jacobs, but he went on to present a theory that could have come from her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities: national economies are really a collection of vibrant city economies, and cities thrive when they foster a diverse ecosystem of small enterprises whose growth is mutually reinforcing. He felt that his adopted home of Shenzhen was the engine and the success model for China. “When I came here, Shenzhen was a place to make cheap products,” he said. “Then it became a place to make products cheaply. Now, for the work we do, it’s the only place to make certain products, because of the supply base, the logistics, and the workforce.” (He said that my article about his company, “China Makes, the World Takes,” could, five years later, be redone as “Shenzhen Makes, China Takes.”) San Francisco is his model for how the new manufacturing economy would spread in America. When we spoke, he had just leased a 30,000-square-foot building off I‑280, the former home of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and announced plans to establish major PCH operations there. “We look forward to fostering the growing community of makers in the Bay Area who seek to have a massive impact on the world through their dedication to design, brand building, and consumer experiences,” he said in a statement announcing the deal.