One City - Multiple Futures: Two scenarios for exploring the future of Greater Manchester


Jeremy Carter


Over the past 25 years, Manchester has experienced internal changes including the reinvigoration of city centre living, and has been exposed to broader changes such as the globalisation of markets. These forces have changed the complexion of the city-region. The development and use of scenarios provides a route into exploring such driving forces, and their implications for the future growth and development of Greater Manchester.

In developing climate change adaptation strategies and responses, it is important to acknowledge and seek to understand not just the dynamic nature of weather and climate, but also the evolving characteristics of cities and urban areas. Greater Manchester’s capacity to adapt to climate change will be influenced by environmental, economic and social shifts over the coming decades. Patterns of exposure and vulnerability to climate change impacts will also evolve as development takes place and demographic structures change.

Scenario planning engages with this debate through providing a methodology to develop different future perspectives for growth and development. Planners and decision makers can use scenarios as a platform to inform adaptation strategies, and to enquire more broadly into the multiple interacting forces with the potential to influence Greater Manchester. This report synthesises the key outputs of a scenario development process undertaken within the EcoCities project during 2009 and 2010. This method is broadly transferable to other cities and urban areas looking to understand more about these issues.