An industrial park is a type of real estate development purposely designed and zoned to house industrial and manufacturing buildings. They are typically located away from residential and commercial areas, and in locations where land is relatively inexpensive. Industrial parks are common around the world and are unique in history since the time of the Industrial Revolution.
Prior to the development of advanced manufacturing processes and assembly lines, most industrial development was undertaken on an ad hoc basis, springing up either close to natural resources or in urban hubs that made supply distribution easy. European cities, like Edinburgh and Dublin, are prime examples where industrial facilities stand side-by-side next to residential and commercial buildings. As the sciences of manufacturing, urban planning, and transportation infrastructure advanced through the 19th and early 20th centuries, the trend developed of segregating factories and manufacturing plants and clustering them together away from living spaces and close to transportation routes.
The industrial park is related in concept to business parks and office parks, with a focus on heavy-duty industry rather than corporate and historically white-collar operations. All three types, however, operate on the basis of providing specific benefits for tenants, centering mainly around the concept of economies of scale. Park developers can afford to install high-volume electricity, communications, and and fuel lines, and other things like road and rail access points that would not be possible in mixed-use zones. This serves to both attract industrial tenants and drive down the per unit cost of utilities and shipping.
In addition, in some jurisdictions there may be tax incentives or other perks offered for businesses to relocate to an industrial park. Parks may also have a specific theme to attract interest, such as being particularly eco-friendly or geared towards a specific type of industry. In many places, industrial parks designed for high-tech industries gained strong popularity beginning in 1990s, offering unique benefits like high-speed broadband Internet access at a time when it was still extremely rare in the private sector.
Despite their benefits, industrial parks are not without critics. Some argue that all but a few of the most dedicated eco-friendly developments are, in fact, excessively hazardous to the environment due to the high concentration of potential polluters. Common kinds of businesses that locate in an industrial park can include power plants, incinerators, and wastewater treatment plants. Each of these facilities can generate a high level of potentially hazardous waste, and are often subject to a high degree of Not-In-My-BackYard (NIMBY) opposition from nearby residents and property owners.