Manchester Climathon winners address the city’s most pressing climate challenges with fresh ideas
Getting local people involved in designing and implementing Nature Based Solutions to improve their city’s resilience to climate challenges is a key part of GrowGreen.
Manchester recently hosted its own Climathon, the world’s biggest climate change hackathon, to find Nature Based Solutions to Manchester’s most pressing climate issues.
A team of 6 Landscape Architect students from Manchester Metropolitan University called ‘Green and Blue Thread’ won Manchester’s first Climathon for their innovative and cost effective ideas to improve the environment at a site in West Gorton. Judges were most impressed with their ideas to combat both flooding and heat stress.
The winners now have the opportunity to work with Manchester Climate Change Agency to take their idea forward to secure funding.
Manchester Climathon is supported by The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester Climate Change Agency and City of Trees. Teams presented their ideas to a panel of judges including Eddy Fox (Manchester Metropolitan University Landscape Architecture), Mark Knight (Groundwork), Pete Stringer (City of Trees) and Chloe Watts (Climate CIC).
The winning solutions will be used to improve the green infrastructure of a residential site in Greater Manchester.
Katerina Betsou, Project Officer (Strategic Development), Manchester City Council says,
‘It was such a privilege to be involved in Manchester’s first ever Climathon. Every team had their own strengths but the judging panel thought that Blue Green Thread’s ideas for Nature Based Solutions were well thought through, the most innovative and appropriately responsive to local challenges. We’re looking forward to seeing how these ideas can be taken forward.’
Eddy Fox, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture at Manchester Metropolitan University says,
‘Green Infrastructure and solutions to climate change are at the heart of what we do on the Master of Landscape Architecture, and the Climathon was a great opportunity to test students’ knowledge and skills in a new environment. The event was a huge success and students loved having the opportunity to compete against practices. They were able to show that their skills in design thinking and communication of ideas were a match for the professionals, and the fact that one of the groups came out as winners was fantastic for them and the course.’
Jonny Sadler, Programme Director, Manchester Climate Change Agency says,
‘Trees that provide shade during extreme temperatures, gardens that soak up water to prevent flooding, and many other types of ‘green infrastructure’ are already an important part of Manchester’s landscape. As our climate continues to change, our existing green spaces and waterways, as well as the new ones yet to be created, will be essential in making Manchester a healthy, liveable city of the future. This year’s Manchester Climathon is a great way to get people involved in the city’s collective efforts. I look forward to seeing the many great proposals that come out of it!’
Dr Tom Mitchell, UK&I Director, Climate-KIC says,
‘City leaders are starting to understand that the resilience of their cities and citizens in the face of rising temperatures is not something that can be left to chance. For their Climathon, Manchester has seized the chance to reflect on how they unlock the potential of their green and blue infrastructure – parks, canals, urban planting – to ensure that their city remains comfortable and liveable for years to come. It is also a fantastic economic opportunity for a city region at the green heart of the Northern Powerhouse: the adaptation market is already worth €279 billion globally, and in the next few years it is predicted to boom, growing 11 per cent annually by 2020. Climate-KIC is really excited to see how they use Climathon, and the brilliant innovators from across the region, to tap into this opportunity.’