Leading experts to discuss Manchester’s urban resilience at our next CitySession

24th Jul 2017

CitySession: Future Shock – The Resilient City
Thursday 27 July, 8am-10am

Our next CitySession networking event is a symposium consisting of leading urban experts that will explore how the city’s resilience can be improved in the wake of challenging events. 

The #citysession, titled Futureshock – The Resilient City, will bring together leading academics and frontline practitioners in the fields of counter terrorism, homelessness, climate change and future urban planning to explore issues that will face the city over the coming years.

Contributing to the event are DCS Dominic Scally (North West Counter Terrorism Unit), Dr Sarah Lindley (Reader in Geography, University of Manchester) futurist Mike Ryan (adviser to Harvard Business Review), Cllr Beth Knowles (Co-chair Homelessness Action Network) and Vaughan Allen (CEO of CityCo).

The event will be chaired by Dr Paul O’Hare (Contemporary Urbanism & Planning, Manchester Metropolitan University).

Organised by CityCo, the city centre management company for Manchester and Salford as well Manchester’s Business Improvement District, the summit will explore the city’s urban resilience; the catch-all phrase used to describe how well a city can respond to a contemporary set of challenges – from terrorism and security to social disorder, health pandemics, technological innovations, climate change and extreme weather events.

The event will focus on the opportunities these challenges can create as Manchester develops adaptive strategies and technologies to give key stakeholders – planners, retailers, emergency services – the opportunity to think differently about the way in which cities can and should work.

Social strains and stresses make city resilience harder to achieve, too. Rough sleeping on the streets of England has more than doubled since 2010 and in the last year that statistics were available, it rose by 42% across the North West of England.

A report from the charity Shelter released last year suggested there were over 3,000 people sleeping rough or without a home across Greater Manchester, making our city region a national ‘hot spot’ for the problem.

The flooding of over 2,200 properties across eight of the city region’s local authorities during Storm Eva in December 2015, costing £11.5 million in infrastructure damage is a recent example of how we need to respond nimbly to threats like climate change. Current estimates suggest that there are over 52,000 properties at risk from fluvial (river) based flooding plus a significant amount more from run-off and drainage/sewer issues.

The recent terror attack in Manchester and the future tactical responses to such events will also be discussed.

Dr Sarah Lindley, Reader in Geography at University of Manchester says:

“Decisions made now will shape the future of cities for years to come, either by exacerbating climate impacts and inequalities, or by providing a means to offset them. There is much that we already know about what helps to make cities resilient, but have we done enough to turn this knowledge into action? Let’s work together to share thinking, build partnerships and embrace the challenge. A green future is a bright future.”

Dr Paul O’Hare, Senior Lecturer in Geography and Development at Manchester Metropolitan University says:

“Perhaps ‘business as usual’ is not good enough anymore. Cities such as Manchester focus on returning to normal with as much rapidity as possible. Instead of ‘bouncing back’ shouldn’t we be ‘bouncing forward’ using shocks and stresses as an opportunity to do things differently?”

Vaughan Allen, CEO of CityCo says:

“The future belongs to those who prepare for it, so that’s why we’ve pulled together some of the best minds to help Manchester continue to be resilient in the face of an untold number of uncertainties. Manchester’s way has always been to shape the future, and not the other way around. By thinking and working together, as city that always looks ahead, we can be strong, confident and adaptable.”

Councillor Beth Knowles, Co-Chair, Manchester Homelessness Action Network says:

“Just like growth, a city’s resilience relies not just on physical infrastructure, but on people and our collective strength to overcome adversity. People having to sleep on our streets is a by-product of gaps in our safety net widening, economic prosperity for some outstripping others and cuts to local government crippling our ability to respond.

“Rough sleeping and homelessness are not an inevitable consequence of economic growth, but they will continue to be so unless we build the resilience of support services and harness the resilience of people who have experienced homelessness, to ensure rather than people being marginalised from society we work together to develop sustained solutions.”

The event is open to the Manchester city centre business community. To RSVP please click here.