The Nature of Manchester

It seems so long ago now. A conversation with Jonny Sadler from the Manchester Climate Change Agency, about the possibility of the City of Manchester’s involvement with a new EU project looking at demonstrating how scientific knowledge of urban ecosystems and green infrastructure (GI) could support the development of policy at different spatial scales. This was a 20 City European collective focussed on knowledge exchange with the option to have supported technical assistance.

The City Policy team at Manchester would take the lead, working with Nick Paling from the West Country Rivers Trust – leading experts on delivering participatory approaches that help to demystify and make accessible the world of natural capital and ecosystem services.

There was an opportunity here to really add to our growing city-specific evidence base around GI. But not just that – to develop something that would be useful and interesting to a much broader audience.

In just over two years, 18 GI “City Labs” would be established and deliver invaluable case studies and learning around the agenda.

Our project, called the Nature of Manchester, has allowed us to refine and expand our knowledge of urban GI and presents it in a new, focussed, accessible way that is both engaging and informative – the report will soon be available to download. It builds on the success and understanding gained from a national Defra Local Action Project, but applies the learning to a localised City Geography – with the ability to drill down to neighbourhood level. Our project also clearly demonstrates the synergies with other key policy drivers and projects, such as Climate Change and Grow Green.

In Brussels, at the European Commission, we were thrilled to be asked to showcase the Manchester City-lab results to the Enroute family of partner Cities and relevant EU departmental leads. These Cities not only have shared challenges and opportunities around GI and Climate resilience, but also a fundamental willingness to co-operate and share those experiences.
We are sure that thanks to projects like EnRoute and Grow Green, these connections will continue to grow and hopefully develop further into a formidable alliance around this agenda – an agenda in which Manchester looks forward to playing a key role.

This story was written by David Barlow
Senior Policy Officer
Lead – Green infrastructure & Biodiversity
Manchester City Council Policy Team

For more information:

The Nature of Manchester Local Action Project
The Nature of Hulme
My Wild City
Enhancing Resilience of Urban Ecosystems through Green Infrastructure