Recast Your City: How to Save Your Downtown with Small-Scale Manufacturing


6″ x 9″, softcover, 181 pages,
Island Press.

SKU: CRYC001 Categories: ,


A new breed of business could lead a wave of downtown revitalization. Maker businesses such as craft jewelers, manufacturers of small batch lotions and cosmetics, and microbrewers, are a growing, but often overlooked segment of the post-pandemic economy.

In Recast Your City: How to Save Your Downtown with Small-Scale Manufacturing, community development expert Ilana Preuss explains how local leaders can revitalize their downtowns by bringing in and supporting maker businesses.

Preuss draws on her experience working with local governments, large and small, to demonstrate how small-scale manufacturers help create thriving places, with local business ownership opportunities, and well-paying jobs.

Preuss also provides the practical tools that local leaders need to develop their strategy, find and attract small-scale manufacturers, and create a local business climate and physical environment where small-scale manufacturing can thrive.

Table of Contents

  1. What it Means to Recast Your City
  2. Why We Need a New Economic Development Model
  3. A Stronger Economic Development Model with Small-Scale Manufacturing
  4. Five Steps to Recast Your City
    • Step 1: Light the Spark
    • Step 2: Find and Connect with New People
    • Step 3: Start the Conversation and Get Great Information from Your Interviews
    • Step 4: Analyze the Input and Understand What it All Means
    • Step 5: Be Impatient and Act Now


Read Chapter 1

About the Author

Ilana Preuss’ passion for great places grew out of her experience working with big and small cities all over the country when she led the technical assistance program at the U.S. EPA Smart Growth Program, and as the Vice President & Chief of Staff at Smart Growth America. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University and a Masters of City Planning from the University of Maryland.

Author Presentation


Recast Your City is guaranteed. If you are not 100% satisfied, you may return it within 30 days for a full refund.


“Preuss totally hits the nail on the head with her critique of misguided American economic development practices that favor chasing big businesses over cultivating small ones, that favor big real estate deals over smaller-scale investments in downtowns and neighborhoods, and that have left millions of people on the sidelines. She makes a powerful argument for the tremendous potential of small-scale manufacturers to transform economies through incremental, inclusive growth.”
– Kennedy Smith
Senior Researcher, Institute for Local Self-Reliance and former director, National Main Street Center

“This book is a voice for economic development in places ready to build something new. It helps cities identify small businesses looking to scale, gives cities a new way to connect them to needed resources, and invites investors to be a part of something bigger.”
– Sandy Dunbeck
Interim Director of High Point Economic Development and Director of the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance

“Ilana Preuss dramatically illustrates how a critical-but-traditional part of cities can be revitalized and act as a catalyst to transform a community.”
– Tom Murphy
Senior Fellow, Urban Land Institute and former Mayor of Pittsburgh