In 2016, the National League of Cities issued a report to help its members understand what the Maker Movement is and to help themgrow the number of makers in their cities. The League sees Makers as drivers of innovation and a force that can transform urban areas to bring production back where consumption occurs. The movement can also bring the skills and knowledge of out-of-work producers into the creative economy of a city.
According to the National League of Cities, there are an estimated 135 million adults in the United States who are Makers. While there’s no single definitive description of what a maker is or what the Maker moment is, it centers around concepts such as do-it-yourself and other like-minded people, a move away from mass-produced and generic Chinese goods, a desire to support local production and innovation and people willing to share their ideas and techniques with others.
To support Maker movements in their cities, researchers recommend policymakers and politicians focus on helping creating MakerSpaces, creating innovation districts within their cities, engaging companies and educational institutions to partner in public-private partnerships, sponsoring Maker Faires, identifying the linkages to local manufacturing growth and measuring the impact of the movement on city prosperity and economics.
Currently, about 1/4 of U.S. cities have MakerSpaces and almost 15 percent of cities have hosted some kind of Maker Faire. The report profiles 10 cities that have emerged as leaders in the Maker movement: Albuquerque, NM; Austin, TX; Boulder, CO; Burlington, VT; Chattanooga, TN; Eugene, OR; Louisville, KY; Madison, WI; Philadelphia, PA and San Francisco, CA.
You can also read a summary of the full report on CitiesSpeak, the official blog of the National League of Cities.