A People’s Spatial Framework
Thursday, January 23, 2020 6:30 PM – 8:30
We’ll be imagining an alternative Spatial Framework that serves the people while protecting the green space.
For some years now, Greater Manchester has been trying to agree a grand plan for land use: the Spatial Framework. Seen by some as a “developers’ charter” and by others as a necessary framework to prevent a developers’ free for all, the debate has been characterised by a lack of good ideas about what the alternative might look like. The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has promoted a model based on highly specialised zones, for retail, commerce, warehousing and logistics, housing and amenity, the whole dependent on moving people around quickly via roads, motorways and public transport links, all assuming high levels of “economic growth”. Opposition has focused on the housing models and on the erosion of green space, in the green belt and elsewhere. We know what we are against, but do we know what we could have instead? How would we plan for a different kind of city?
Steady State Manchester has explored some different models, from the “retrofit garden city“ and “continuous productive urban landscapes“, and “rurban” or “urbal“ “retrosuburbia”, to the “20 minute neighbourhood”. We’ve discussed the dilemmas of “densification” – does it help to deliver low-carbon living or does it sacrifice the possibilities for urban food production that we might need in an energy-scarce, post-oil world?
This workshop will explore some of these issues. We think a Spatial Framework is needed but we desperately need a clear positive vision to answer the question that GMCA posed, but failed to answer: “What kind of place do you want Greater Manchester to be?”: A People’s Spatial Framework.