Manchester at MIPIM 2019 | Day 1

The first day of MIPIM 2019 has kicked off, with some fantastic events already taking place on The Manchester Pavilion. We officially launched our newly-redesigned Pavilion last night at the Manchester Pavilion: Opening Reception, where Sir Richard Leese and Professor Greg Clark CBE welcomed the Manchester delegation, discussing everything from Manchester's property industry, Brexit, the theme for this year, tothe tangible benefits that the city sees from MIPIM activity. A new campaign 'Citizens of Manchester' was launched, focussing on the extraordinary individuals who are the life and soul of Greater Manchester. You can find out more at: www.citizensofmcr.co.uk.

Our first session of the morning 'Manchester: The Institutional City', featured Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council; Benjamin Cadranel, Chief Executive of citydev.Brussels; Eric Menges, Chief Executive of FrankfurtRheinMain; Maria Vassilakou, Deputy Mayor of City of Vienna; and was moderated by Professor Greg Clark, Global City Advisor. Within the session, Sir Richard Leese spoke about Manchester’s key strengths in Advanced Materials and Health Innovation, and anchor institutions like the BBC and, coming soon, GCHQ. Touching on these institutions, Leese also spoke about the power of community partnerships between anchor institutions and local residents, including hospitals and universities. He said they can help to regenerate and improve areas, driving not only economic growth but also bringing other improvements, including employment practices that can drive quality of life.

Maria Vassilakou outlined how Vienna focusses on mixed-use developments within the city, and using new institutions to help stimulate investment to develop urban quarters in the city. Eric Menges discussed how having a strong financial hub with the European Central Bank as an anchor has transformed Frankfurt into a truly multi-cultural city with a range of international schools that have been critical to the development of the city. Benjamin Cadranel discussed how being the central hub of Europe has benefited the city and whether this dominates the brand of the city. Brussels' international institutions generate 16% of the employment in the region, and contribute around 5 billion euros per year. Examples of anchor institutions given by Sir Richard Leese in Manchester include not only major names such as the BBC at Salford Quays and the football clubs, but also HOME, which has been a catalyst for development in the First Street neighbourhood.

Our second session of the morning 'The Next Generation of Cities: Creating the Places People Want to Live, Work, Play & Learn' saw a panel of Sir Richard Leese, with Alexandra Hagen, Architect & Chief Executive of White Arkitekter; Patricia Brown, Director of Central; Jon Matthews, Director of Jon Matthews Architects; and moderated by Christine Murray, Editor-in-Chief of The Developer. The discussion focussed mainly around how cities can prepare for the shifting culture and environment that a younger generation now expect. Sir Richard Leese outlined how the UK had experienced 150 years of suburbanism, where only in the last 20 years have we seen more people choose to live in urban cities.

The conversation also touched on how to deal with retaining the heritage of the city, with Jon Matthews stating that developers need to retain the best heritage assets and respect the past, but also look to the future and what will be expected in high density buildings in the future. Alexandra Hagen outlined how important green spaces in the city are not just for tackling climate change, but also for attracting young people and families into the city centres. Patricia Brown focussed on how New York is a great example of an urban city in which people want to live, and specifically how Brooklyn Bridge Park built sustainability into their land plan, with climate change at the heart of their strategy.

The discussion moved on to the relationship between public transport, walking and cycle access, and cars in the city centre, with Sir Richard Leese outlining the next 5 years of building a system of integrated transport, as well as looking at how cars operate in the city.

Our final morning session looked at one of the city's most exciting developments; Innovation District Manchester. In 'Introducing Innovation District Manchester: Where Ideas Become Reality', Joanne Roney, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council was joined by Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President & Vice Chancellor of The University of Manchester; Diana Hampson and Dtephen Dauncey, Director of Estates and Director of Finance respectively at The University of Manchester, and Colin Thomasson, Executive Director of CBRE outined the plans for the 'unique, unprecedented opportunity' and announced that they are looking for a partner that shares their vision to make ID Manchester a global and local success. You can find out more about the plans here.

After a break for lunch, the first afternoon session on the Manchester Pavilion was 'City Brand Power: How Can Branding Drive Urban Development' focussing on how city branding done right can unite citizens and businesses together in a common purpose, as well as helping to renew and redevelop neighbourhoods. In the session, Sir Richard Leese was joined by Anna Gissler, Chief Executive of Stockholm Business Region, the city famed for becoming 'The Unicorn Factory'; Dr. Phillipp Bouteiller, Chief Executive for TXL Berlin, a city that has redeveloped itself to invite the world to 'Be Berlin'; and Consol Vancells Casanovas, City Branding Project Coordinator of Barcelona City Council, a famous city that is developing a new story about its future. The session, again moderated by Professor Greg Clark CBE, started with the question "what's the biggest challenge of city branding?".

Asked about Manchester’s city branding and the Original Modern ethos, Sir Richard Leese said: “The brand is Manchester. That’s the brand. What are the characteristics and personality of the city: diverse, open and inclusive. It’s a live and let live city, a very tolerant city. That might mean we are ‘can do’ city.” He also touched upon a form of positive “arrogance” within the personality of people in Manchester. “That’s because nobody is going to tell us that we can’t do things better than anybody else,” he added.

Sir Richard said that Manchester International Festival perhaps represented Manchester’s personality and branding more than any other institution and initiative. He also spoke about the importance of Manchester’s ongoing relationship with Europe in spite of Brexit, adding: “Europe is important to us. Manchester always sees itself as a European city. Manchester is a very longstanding member of Eurocities and we will remain a member of Eurocities because we think our relationships with other European cities are really important.” He also pointed out the importance that culture plays in attracting young people, who then go on to stay in the city. "Why do they stay? It is culture, it is coffee bars, sport and so on.”

Anna Gissler explained how Stockholm, as the capital of Scandinavia, has focused on their famed attitude of equality, being a place where both men and women can thrive, as well as how 'The Unicorn Factory' branding shows how the city is a hub for creativity and innovation. Dr Philipp Bouteiller outlined how a city brand must be built on its core city values, such as the 'Be Berlin' campaign which is built on a base of tolerance and freedom. Barcelona's input was around how Manchester and Barcelona share a number of characteristics, including the need to look for large scale projects such as the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, as well as how they have listened to everyone, locally and internationally to understand their DNA. The result was a brand that outlines Barcelona's aim to be a model of a city that offers personal and professional growth, to enjoy life to the full.

In 'A World Class Infrastructure: Enabling Greater Manchester's Future', Eamonn Boylan, Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Combined Authority was joined by a panel including Mike Wilton, Director of Arup; Steve Cox, Engineering & Technical Director of Electricity North West; Diana Hampson, Director of Estates of The University of Manchester; Jonathan Haigh, Managing Director of MAG Property; Gavin Taylor, Regional General Manager of Far East Consortium International Limited; and moderated by Jane Healey Brown, Associate Director of Arup. The session touched on a whole range of infrastructure needs, with Eamonn Boylan stating that infrastructure and skills are the most fundamental drivers to achieve Manchester's ambitions for growth. Mike Wilton referenced the issues Manchester needs to consider as the population grows, from reducing heat consumption within homes to blue and green infrastructure needs. Wilton summed up by citing the importance of partnership working where the infrastructure is managed by a whole range of local and national bodies. Steve Cox shared the ambitions of Electricity North West, as well as the £30 million worth of investment projects that they currently have underway, including a £5 million investment within Manchester Airport Group.

In the panel debate, Jonathan Haigh cited Manchester's new route to Beijing as a way in which good infrastructure and direct connectivity to key markets can drive economic benefits. Gavin Taylor and Diana Hampson focused on their key developments of Northern Gateway and Innovation District Manchester respectively and how significant infrastructure and public realm will drive direct benefits to the local people.

The penultimate session of a busy Tuesday on the Manchester Pavilion focussed on the incredible new park being developed at Mayfield, one of the city's most ambitious development projects. The panel for 'Park Life: A 21st Century Park for Manchester' included Joanne Roney, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council; James Heather, Development Director of U+I; Stephen O'Malley, Founding Director of Civic Engineer; David Rudlin, Director of URBED; Maria Vassilakou, Deputy Mayor of City of Vienna; and was moderated by Jessica Middleton-Pugh, Editor of Place North West.

The session explored the combined benefits of a bold development that will enhance the health and wellbeing of citizens while also helping to protect the environment. A public consultation exercise will help to inform the shape and scope of the new city park and Heather said that U+I aspires to “exceed what people want from the consultation”.

Panellists concurred that Manchester, like other cities, should become greener and reduce the impact of vehicles in order to provide an environment that supports better quality of life. Asked what he would like to see in the near future for Manchester, O’Malley said he would prefer “a much softer Manchester… much more trees and a reduction in the number of private vehicles." He also added that it will be fascinating to see the transition from where we are now into a people-centric city.

Vassilakou outlined her vision for cities with “more trees, more water” that can adapt to climate change, and explained how she would love to see cities realising that it is about creating a green network rather than a park here and there a green space.

In summary, Roney said that Mayfield was about creating “a new history” for Manchester that recognises the city’s role as a place to live as well as work, and how on top of the redevelopment of the city, the wellbeing of the people is what matters most to her.

The final session of the day saw Sir Richard Leese joined by Joe Anderson OBE, Mayor of Liverpool and Frank McKenna, Chief Executive of Downtown in Business to discuss 'Powerhouse Progress: City Innovation & Partnership'. In a light-hearted discussion that obviously touched on respective accents and football clubs, the discussion tackled the serious issues that the North faces, the progress of the Northern Powerhouse, and hopes for future devolution, based mainly around the objective to have input to the local skills agenda, and inclusive growth within the cities.

We have another full day of events taking place on the Manchester Pavilion tomorrow, and you check them all out here. We look forward to seeing you bright and early in the morning!