Catalytic Action 1: World class regeneration

The Executive of Manchester City Council- in effect the “Cabinet” of the 96 seat elected body, has recently accepted a report called the “Call to Action.”

A London-based consultancy called “Beyond Green” wrote the report, which commits the Council to nine “catalytic actions.”

They are:

1. World-leading neighbourhood regeneration

2. Retrofitting Manchester’s civic heritage

3. A business alliance for climate change

4. Low carbon energy infrastructure

5. Low carbon communities

6. A climate-ready Local Development Framework

  1. The Manchester Prize

  2. Greening the City: i-Trees

  3. A green airport

We here at MCFly Towers think that these sorts of things go better with consultation. While we are waiting for the Council to announce just what it is going to do on this question, we will be posting the key bits of a “catalytic action” per day on the MCFly blog, with a brief analysis. We invite the people of Manchester (and heck, why not beyond) to comment on these. We will pass on your comments to the Council.

That’s not to say the other parts of the report aren’t worthy of comment too- it’s just that we have to start somewhere, and here is as good a place as any…

  1. World-leading neighbourhood regeneration

“With the help of partners, the City Council intends to identify trailblazing major regeneration neighbourhoods in which to develop internationally recognised exemplars for socially, economically and environmentally sustainable place-making.

“The sites are expected to be identified and announced in 2009. A comprehensive vision will be developed in conjunction with stakeholders and the community, following the selection of preferred development partners….”

“Behaviour change will be at the heart of the proposition. “Zero-carbon” building design can only account for a relativelysmall proportion of a person’s environmental impact; reducing total carbon footprint means encouraging people to adopt more sustainable behaviour in all aspects of their lives – such as how they move around the City and where they get their food from. ”

“The result will be sustainable communities in every sense, with a total carbon footprint among residents at least 80 per cent lower by 2025 than in 1990.”


If those goals are met, they’ll be very laudable. 2025 is only 16 years away, so we’d best start NOW. However, if these sites are only going to be identified by later this year, when will the carbon savings actually start?
No mention of things like BREAM, etc. No mention of the recent Manchester University report on buildings and climate mitigation

There’s no clear statement of what climate resilience mechanisms will be built in. Resilience is a word that appears several times in the Call to Action, but never seems to be defined….

And isn’t this something the Council has been doing, or should have been doing ANYWAY. If this is number one catalytic action, a cynic could be forgiven for thinking that the Call to Action contained lots of bits cobbled together that were already being done, or about to be done anyway, and given a dash of green paint and called a climate change action plan. They’d be wrong of course, but they could be forgiven for thinking it…


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