The Shifting Geography of Metropolitan Employment

in Chicago Made

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780226477015
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226477046 | DOI:
The Shifting Geography of Metropolitan Employment

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The interwar period featured extensive regional and metropolitan plant relocation. This chapter explores this issue through a study of the locational outcomes of 1,020 fixed capital actions made by Chicago companies in the 1920s. These decisions are divided into four main types: the building of new plants, making additions to existing factories, the leasing of work space by firms new to Chicago, and moving production to another site in the metropolitan area. The study of these locational decisions brings out three significant findings. First, firm relocation was a complex process involving an array of movements. Companies did not simply move from the city center to the suburbs. Second, moving was not the only choice that manufacturers made. Companies committed a great deal of energy and investment to plant additions and to existing neighborhoods. Third, the industrial landscape underwent incremental not dramatic change. Despite the apparent large scale of industrial change, the manufacturing landscape evolved slowly and through tens of thousands of separate but yet interlinked decisions.

Keywords: interwar period; plant relocations; Chicago companies; new plant construction; work space leasing; plant additions; manufacturing

Chapter.  7697 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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