The study conducted by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) and the TU Berlin found that the number of industrial companies in large cities is growing: from 2012 to 2016, 40% more industrial companies were founded in big cities than in smaller cities or in rural areas. The authors reason that it is advantageous to manufacture certain products close to the customer - i.e. in the city. Proximity to research institutions probably plays an important role for high-tech industries.
In the same study, the DIW Berlin also found that industrial companies located in major cities are more productive than those in peripheral or rural areas. This is especially true for companies that focus strongly on research and development. According to the researchers, the findings nevertheless do yet not indicate a real renaissance of major cities as an industrial location. For this to happen, the newly established companies would have to grow quickly and the existing industrial companies would have to successfully implement the digital transformation.
Numerous cities are now making a real effort to attract industry. For example, the Nuremberg Department of Economics has published a strategy paper outlining concrete measures required for digital transformation. Berlin adopted the Master Plan: Industrial City of Berlin 2018-2021 in the summer, which among other things mentions additive manufacturing as a focal point.