In North America the housebuilding industry is ubiquitous and locally autonomous. In Ontario during the 1990s, 81% of urban single‐family homes were erected by locally based builders, a proportion that varied with urban isolation. Urban areas may be regarded as the industrial districts of home builders: numerous small, specialized firms interact frequently within a rich, embedded market network; subcontracting is the norm; networks and firm boundaries are fluid. The theory of industrial districts offers a useful vocabulary for analysing the neglected building industry. Analytically, the building industry offers unequalled opportunities to explore the dynamics of industrial districts, and how economic globalization meets local limits.
MICHAEL BUZZELLI, RICHARD HARRIS
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