Manchester at MIPIM 2019 | Day 2

And there you have it, another day finished on the Manchester Pavilion, with leading property professionals taking part in sessions covering urban neighbourhoods, sustainability, new developments, the strength of Greater Manchester as a whole, how technology can impact future citizens, and much more.

The first session of the morning focussed on 'StreetLife & Urban Neighbourhoods: Making Spaces for People'. Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council was joined by Dr Dorothee Stapelfeldt, State Minister for Urban Development & Housing of the City of Hamburg; Anni Sinnemäki, Deputy Mayor for Urban Environment of the City of Helsinki; and Anette Scheibe Lorentzi, Chief Executive - City Planning of the City of Stockholm, in a session moderated by Professor Greg Clark CBE, Global City Advisor. Considering how urban areas are changing, the panel discussed how city spaces need to be developed for people who shop, work, gather, celebrate, and travel.

The session featured examples of very different schemes that had successfully improved spaces in a diverse range of European cities.

Echoing Manchester’s enthusiasm for cultural investment as a driver for inward investment, Sinnemäki spoke about the "shining" results that Helsinki has seen from cultural investments, with benefits that “radiate out” on to the streets. The first example she gave was Helsinki’s new Central Library, which only opened last year and is already proving a magnet for visitors. “Now you go there on Sunday and you see everyone – people from different backgrounds, families from the suburbs, people of different backgrounds and ages,” she said.

Another recent cultural investment is the new Amos Rex museum.

“These two examples give us the confidence that if you invest and create something new, you get a lot of people visiting there,” she said.

Scheibe Lorentzi agreed that if cities want to create more street life, they need more people. She talked about a strategy that will deliver 140,000 new homes, and said that public space is a fundamental of every plan the city considers if it wants to attract residents, investment and visitors.

Stapelfeldt said it was important to build streets where people weren’t necessarily residents or customers and talked about the importance of including characteristics that encourage people to dwell in streets.

Leese provided details of schemes in Manchester that had not only helped to attract additional residents but had also reduced crime and anti-social behaviour.

Design of the built in environment was a factor in the improvement of the Alex Estate, removing alleyways through selective demolition. He said that the estate had moved from a period “where people came to see councillors to get off estate, to going to see councillors to say they want to get on the estate.”

In Hulme, planners had eliminated cul-de-sacs and introduced streets.

He said: “Streets go somewhere. That’s important. We built a new Hulme that people wanted to live. Like all regeneration, although we started in 1990s, it isn’t finished yet.”

At 10:30, Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester was joined by Raymond Johansen, Governing Mayor of Oslo; Chris Oglesby, Chief Executive of Bruntwood; Helen Gribbon, Director of renaissance; and Gavin Elliott, Principal of BDP for 'Carbon Neutral by 2038: Manchester's Sustainable Future'. The session outlined Manchester's ambitious aim to become one of the leading green cities and carbon neutral by 2038.

Ahead of becoming European Green Capital for 2019, Raymond Johansen gave insight into Oslo in terms of how they treat CO2 as any other measureable asset of the country, for example money, as well as the need to plan for people, with 70% of people living in Europe residing in cities. Andy Burnham outlined Greater Manchester's plans to lead the fourth industrial revolution, developing an inherently green city through new buildings, retrofitting old buildings, a clean air zone, and getting an integrated and green public transport system. Chris Oglesby outlined how the success of Bruntwood, built on their three Cs of colleagues, customers and communities, who are all demanding a strong green agenda. From a building point of view, Helenn Gribbon stated an excitement for "the potential for the introduction of new material in buildings, for example graphene".

Burnham also offered the opportunity for a platform at the Green Summit for any business here who could come forward with something worthwhile to bring. Gavin Elliot wrapped up session by stating "The pathway to becoming carbon neutral by 2038 is clearly challenging, but it presents great opportunities for those who are bold enough and smart enough to see the opportunities".

The final morning session 'Manchester's Smart Growth Area: For Homes, Jobs & Connected Communities' saw Freelance Editor Stacey Meadwell moderate a panel consisting of Joanne Roney, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council; Jonathan Miley, Director of Exterior Architecture; Chris Cheap, Principal & Managing Director - UK Regions of Avison Young; David Russell, Chief Executive of Property Alliance Group; Stephen Hogg, Lead Regional Residential Director of JLL; and Steve Rumbelow, Chief Executive of Rochdale Borough Council.

The session outlined the ambition of Bury, Rochdale and Oldham Councils to capitalise on current assets and inclusive growth in this 'smart growth area'. All of the panellists focused on the talent of the region, with Steve Rumbelow asking for "developers to come alongside that can deliver this scale of development" which can also give "a massive opportunity to create new neighbourhoods and communities and link them together".

You can find out more about the Smart Growth area here.

The first afternoon session in the Manchester Pavilion 'Emerging Technologies: Driving New Workforces & Workplaces' featured Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester; Will Lewis, Founding Director of OBI Property; Melanie Collett, Head of Asset Managementof Aviva Investors; Tim Newns, Chief Executive Manchester's inward investment agency MIDAS; Jessica Bowles, Director of Strategy at Bruntwood; and Liz Hamson, Editor of Property Week.

Andy Burnham opened the session by stating Manchester's ambition to be "UK's leading digital city and UK's leading green city", the key things are the two big forces in today's economy. Burnham also focussed on how a devolved skills agenda would allow Manchester to train young people in key industries so that digital investors are able to see the talent pipeline in the city. Tim Newns outlined the result of ongoing research taken in partnership with The Data City that showed Manchester as by far the strongest regional city across all elements of digital and technology. From a private sector point of view, Melanie Collett and Jessica Bowles touched on how expectations of buildings are changing to become more flexible in their approach to collaboration and co-working, as well as the importance of wellbeing inside the buildings.

Our second session of the afternoon 'Precision Partnerships: Transforming the Health & Wellbeing of Manchester Citizens' was introduced by Sir Richard Leese and featured Dr. Joachim Schorr, Chief Executive of Apis Assay and Tom Renn, Managing Director of Manchester Science Partnerships. Dr. Joachim Schorr discussed the benefits of Manchester in terms of precision medicine, and how Apis Assay are hoping to harness this. After launching Citylabs 2.0 and 3.0 at MIPIM 2018, Tom Renn gave an update on the developments, and the unique way in which they have industry, academia, and clinicians working together.

'Looking to the Future: Keeping our Town Centres Alive' was Wednesday's penultimate session, and had a panel comprising Richard Roe, Corporate Director of Place of Trafford Council; Ben Fearns, Chief Executive of Novo; Caroline Simpson, Corporate Director of Place at Stockport Council; Phil Mayall, Regional Director North West of Muse; and Chris Oglesby, Chief Executive of Bruntwood.

The session provided a fascinating insight onto the success of the revival of Altrincham town centre in Trafford, the ambitious plans now unfolding in Stockport, and also the future prospects for all town centres as traditional retail declines.

It was moderated by Oglesby, who began by talking about Bruntwood’s longstanding links with both Trafford and Stockport, where the developer has been investing for more than 40 years. Out of town retail, then the internet, and more recently, an “over reliance on cars”, had compounded difficulties for town centres and a realisation that “something proactive had to be done,” he said.

Pointing to the improvement in fortunes being seen in Stockport following a prolonged period of decline, Oglesby asked how the area could build on recent momentum.

Caroline Simpson said it was important to be really positive about the future and talk up our town centres, to show civic leadership, and to think about how Stockport town centre can be relevant to today’s needs.

She said the council had been proactive in putting assets into development, taking advantage of its ability to borrow money at a competitive rate and building partnerships with the private sector.

An example of Stockport’s ongoing revitalisation was given as Interchange Stockport, with an exciting new animation unveiled at MIPIM showing how Stockport town centre will be transformed by the new transport interchange and two-acre park.

Richard Roe talked about Trafford’s dawning realisation that Altrincham was “a place that was lost”. Despite a fantastic catchment area, it had declining footfall and vacancy rates that had risen to 30%.

He said: “The local authority had to take a direct approach. We had to intervene. That required us to work with the private sector and the community.

“Altrincham was the ghost town but we started to talk it up.” Vacancy rates are now closer to 8% in Altrincham.

Following the successful revitalisation of Altrincham town centre, similar approaches have been taken by Trafford in Sale and Urmston, with Stretford to follow.

However, Roe said it was now important for local authorities to spend more time “horizon gazing,” in order to better anticipate the factors that will lead to future challenges for town centres presented by driverless cars, for example.

Ben Fearns, whose company has played a major part in the revitalisation of Altrincham, pointed to the changing needs of town centres, saying that a “fundamental correction needs to take place”, in order keep them relevant for users, switching redundant retail space for residential space where necessary. He also said his company was keen to return something to the local community by promoting affordable residential space.

Asked by Oglesby about new uses for retail space with the continuing decline of the traditional high street, Phil Mayall predicted a return to the type of convenience and colocation which was once common in town centres where local people lived and shopped.

“We’re cycling back to that. Put the people with the retail. And that will drive it.”

Our final session of the day included speeches from Sir Richard Leese, along with John McGrath, Artistic Director & Chief Executive of Manchester International Festival, and Carol Patterson, Director of OMA, at 'The Factory: Where Manchester Meets the World'. Introducing the session, Sir Richard Leese reiterated the the importance of investment in culture within the city, before Carol Patterson gave a brief overview of the design of The Factory. John McGrath concluded the short speeches by introducing MIF19, and outlining how the Factory will have a huge impact on the local community in terms of opportunities for younger generations to come and learn about all aspects of art and culture. The goal of the factory will be to bring together the raw ingredients and the great talent, and share it around the world with a very strong 'made in Manchester' message.

"The Factory is a factory, it's a place where things get made. It's a place of creation".

Make sure you don't miss the session tomorrow 'The Factory: Where the Art of The Future Will be Made' which will take a deeper look into the development.

And that's everything for another day! Make sure you join us again on the Manchester Pavilion tomorrow for another full day of events.