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Scenarios and future perspectives

We need to recognise that just as the climate looks set to change significantly over the coming decades, so will urban areas such as Greater Manchester. Changes to population characteristics, land use patterns, dominant economic sectors will influence how weather and climate events impact on the conurbation. The development and implementation of adaptation responses will also be affected.

As part of the EcoCities project we have identified, with the help of stakeholders from Greater Manchester and beyond, some of the key drivers of change with the potential to affect the growth and development of Greater Manchester over the coming decades. These include technological change, values and consumption patterns and the state of the economy. The drivers form the basis of two future scenarios for Greater Manchester, Upward Spiral and Long Descent.

Scenarios provide a route into exploring how the conurbation may evolve. Taking a futures perspective raises critical questions around how Greater Manchester’s capacity to adapt to the changing climate many shift over the coming decades. A land use modelling exercise, informed by the scenarios developed within EcoCities, maps different possible land use patterns for Greater Manchester to 2050. Their implications for adapting to climate change are considered.

We must also be aware of how complex climate change impacts and adaptation responses are. The case of flooding of buildings is looked at using a causal path analysis approach in order to demonstrate this complexity.

This research is intended to help decision-makers and interested stakeholders broaden and lengthen the consideration of adaptation responses in Greater Manchester, and in other urban areas developing responses to the changing climate. Details of other scenarios exercises are highlighted within this section, and demonstrate that this method has been used widely to bring a futures perspective to other topics.


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Latest issue


This is issue three of the EcoCities Blueprint magazine. It led with the article: 'What's going on up there? Climate projections for Greater Manchester.'

Drivers of change: exploring forces with the potential to shape Greater Manchester's growth and development


Drivers of change: a Greater Manchester perspective

The EcoCities project takes a long-term perspective, and includes climate change projections that focus on the 2050s. Although it is not possible to predict how the...

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


Two scenarios for exploring the future of Greater Manchester

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...

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


Land use change scenarios for Greater Manchester

The EcoCities scenarios, ‘long descent’ and ‘upward spiral’, draw different narratives of how Greater Manchester may develop over the coming...