6th April 2017

Delivering Healthy Cities at MIPIM

2017 saw the third time that Civic Engineers have attended MIPIM as part of the Manchester delegation. MIPIM, the world’s leading property market, brings together the most influential players from all international property sectors, offering unrivalled access to the greatest number of development projects and sources of capital worldwide. Manchester has been attending MIPIM for 17 years and takes a unique and dynamic approach to exhibiting at the show.

Manchester’s presence at MIPIM 2017 was the biggest yet. Boasting a brand new location, the Manchester Pavilion placed the city alongside other global cities such as Istanbul, Paris, and London. The partnership made up of 113 private sector companies was led by Manchester City Council, and supported by 6 other Greater Manchester Local Authorities; Bolton, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Trafford, and Oldham. The programme of activity, from the breakfast session to the dinners, stand presentations and events, was developed to position Manchester on an international stage.

We were delighted to take an active part in the programme, contributing to the Delivering Healthy Cities session on the Thursday afternoon. The session centred around Greater Manchester’s continuing transformative journey of growth, founded on genuine opportunities for investment especially in areas where economic activity is currently weakest across the conurbation.

The GMSF (Greater Manchester Spatial Framework), underpinned by Transport for Greater Manchester’s 2040 vision and its Low Emission Strategy & Air Quality Action Plan, exists to make sure that investment and growth in houses and jobs happens and that it also benefits current residents and makes Greater Manchester a better place to live, visit and work. The GMCA (Greater Manchester Combined Authority) recognises the need to plan for schools, green spaces, roads and health facilities, alongside new homes, offices and factories. Considering all of this places great importance on the structure and order of the city region in terms of its landscape. It raises key questions about the density and clustering of different uses; how can local character and distinctiveness be presented? How can we experience these redeveloped places? What sort of lifestyle will our city offer?

Whilst the green belt plays a role in this, there are important green spaces, parks, rivers, streets and canals in the heart of the region. These need to be showcased and enhanced to offer a coherent landscape that is safe and attractive for people. The landscape needs to encourage people to choose active travel, to reduce pollution and to improve physical health, whilst creating a positive environment for people to meet and engage with one another.

The Delivering Healthy Cities session was introduced and moderated by Stephen Hodder MBE. Eamonn Boylan, Chief Executive of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority spoke first, setting out the value and belief in the importance of green infrastructure to Greater Manchester, as shown by their City of Trees initiatives. Frederic Segur, Director of Trees & Landscapes, from the Greater Lyon Authority followed, sharing his experience of creating the regulatory framework and then the delivery of green infrastructure across the Lyon city region. He explained the political, financial and technical challenges the authority encountered along with the results some 20 years after the publication of Lyon’s first tree charter. The presentations concluded with Stephen O’Malley, our Founding Director, offering a vision for how the GMCA objectives, informed by lessons from Lyon as well as the  adoption of industry best practice could apply to Manchester. He illustrated this using a reimagined Great Ancoats Street to show just what could be possible.

The closing stage of the session saw questions from Stephen Hodder and the floor, probing the thinking of the speakers, teasing out the practicalities, benefits and deliverability of such a vision in the Manchester context. The complete session is available to view on the right hand side of this page.

Delivering Healthy Cities at MIPIM