Land use change scenarios for Greater Manchester: analysis and implications for climate change adaptation


Jeremy Carter


The EcoCities scenarios, ‘long descent’ and ‘upward spiral’, draw different narratives of how Greater Manchester may develop over the coming decades based on ten ‘drivers of change’. This paper reports on the outcomes of a linked research task focused on exploring future land use change over Greater Manchester, using the EcoCities scenarios as a framework. We have focused on this issue because evolving land use patterns will influence how the conurbation is impacted on by, and will adapt to, the changing climate.
The research uses Metronamica, a spatial decision support tool designed to assist planners, decision makers and researchers in understanding future land use change. It provides a platform for simulating and assessing potential land use change up to fifty years into the future. Using the EcoCities scenarios as a framework, Metronamica offers a projection of possible land use change in the conurbation. The research is scenario-based, acknowledging that we cannot predict future land use with any degree of accuracy. There are simply too many variables that could influence land use patterns in Greater Manchester over the coming decades.  

The results detailed in this report indicate that different land use futures will have contrasting effects on climate change impacts and adaptation responses in Greater Manchester. This demonstrates that when considering adaptation responses, it is vital that attention is paid not just to the changing climate but also to land use change. These observations can assist the development of adaptation policies and strategies attuned to the importance of current and potential future land use across Greater Manchester.