An industrial region is a geographic area in which a large number of manufacturing or other industrial plants are concentrated. The area can be as small as an industrial park or as large as a city. Industrial areas are frequently zoned strictly for industrial operations and may have lower property values than residential or commercial areas.
Traditional city planning involves four types of zones. Residential zones contain homes, apartments, and other residences. Commercial zones contain retail and other businesses, such as accounting agencies, medical offices, and hair salons. Industrial zones contain manufacturing facilities, airports, train stations, and similar entities. Multifunction zones combine two or more types of facilities within a single zone, usually combining residential and commercial functions.
Most governmental and planning agencies try to group manufacturing facilities together for a number of reasons. These include pollution; noise; and heavy traffic, especially involving tractor trailers and other large vehicles. In addition, industrial facilities often need large tracts of land and have little interest in amenities such as proximity to parks and property landscaping. Such facilities may also be more prone to fires, chemical spills, and similar accidents, making it desirable to separate industrial areas from commercial and residential areas.
Another reason for grouping industries together into an industrial region is to promote the ease of collaboration. For example, most manufacturing plants require trucking services to transport their goods. Transportation companies are generally classified as industry, so they are often located near their primary clients, making the pickup and drop off of goods more efficient. Other similar efficiencies are created when a parts manufacturer is located near manufacturers who use those parts to create finished goods.
While there are many valid reasons to create a dedicated industrial region, such regions are prone to problems. Property values may be lower than other types of zones, for instance. In addition, commercial and residential zones located adjacent to industrial zones frequently have lower property values than similar zones located well away from industrial regions. These types of property zones may also have higher crime rates.
Early in the development of a city or country, there will likely be more industrial zones than commercial zones because industry traditionally precedes commerce. Eventually, many developed areas transition from primarily industrial to primarily commercial. Some urban areas, cities, or even countries remain heavily industrialized throughout their histories, however. For this reason, the term "industrial region" can easily refer to a very large geographic area.