Very much a game of two halves
First half we have speeches from
Professor Alan Gilbert, President of the University of Manchester
After a few not-so-gentle digs at Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat”, Prof Gilbert warmed (ho ho) to his theme – that it would be dynamic city regions that drive growth and have a competitive advantage in the 21st century. He seemed quite taken with the work of Richard Florida (on where the nimble creative classes want to live) and argued that sustainable cities would have to happen not merely because of regulation but also to Attract and Keep the Talent.
He pointed out that knowing it’s vital is one thing, doing it is another, that there’d be intense competition from other cities
So the University with it’s 2015 role was looking at
- a scale/quality of research that as world class, but also one that shaped the agenda
- not just theoretical research but practical stuff, that made a difference.
He extolled existing international partnerships, for example with Harvard and also US, Singapore, Bangladesh and Japan.
He closed with “Bruntwood and Manchester and the Universities” would succeed or fail together.
Dr Michael Oglesby, Chairman of Bruntwood
He opened by arguing that battle for the recognition of a problem was won, but the question of what to DO was not (question of always wanting someone else to pay for it!)
Observed it is easy to sit back and wait for regulation and then complain about it, but that this is too important an issue to leave to Westminster.
No point in asking developing world to change if WE don’t act.
How to achieve? Strong base, partnerhsip keey. Manchester University one of top 4 in UK, Bruntwood recognised as one of the best, very good customer relationships. Over 2000 customers
Too much focus thus far on the new. Retrofitting is where it is at.
Need clear guidelines. Unis to come up with what would really make a differnece, Bruntwood to look at practialities, Council to decide what’s feasible.
There are going to be recommendations we don’t like, unpalatable. Have to take these on board. If not, fail, with serous consequences.
Impacts from temperature increase, 60% increase in rainfall, leading to flooding because we’ve paved over so much. Some problems will not be soluable, Large areas we will not be able to live in in the future.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council
Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution [Oh, if I had a quid for everytime I have heard THAT lately]
Mcr wants to be part of solution
Cities critical (over 75% of energy, 80% of greenhouse gases)
Mentions Call to Action [but not, naturally, Call to Real Action!]
Increased public understanding.
Extols the “surprising range” of partners writing the Action Plan
Once again talks about the targets as being a minimum: “At least,” he is at pains to emphasise
Then the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding and a chance to hoover up more food. Your MCFly reporter got three feeds out of the Council last Thursday Truly, “snouts in the trough.”
So, then we had an “Overview of the Eco-cities initiative” by Professor Simon Guy and then a very detailed presentation on “Climate Change Impacts in the Manchester city region” by Dr John Handley, before Dr Jeremy Carter led off the workshop component.
This involved having us in groups of 8 or fewer, with a facilitator, getting us to look at “Challenges” and then “Opportunities.” Lots and lots of ideas, which the Eco Cities crew are going to collate and send out.
As with the speeches, the gender balance appalling. MCFly did a head count. There were 53 participants, of whom 14 were women. Of all the people, only one could be classed as Black or Ethnic Minority. Want to be clear though- this is NOT down to any conscious action or oversight on the part of the Ecocities crew. 3 to 1 seems to be the male/female ratio in any climate event MCFly goes to, with anything labelled “Transport” significantly worse. What is to be done?
They think it’s not all over. It is soon.