Planit-IE are heading to MIPIM again this year as a delegate with Marketing Manchester. Managing Partner, Ed Lister will be attending; with Partner and Head of Urban Design Andy Roberts representing the practice for the full duration alongside Principal Landscape Architect Matthew Warner.

What a difference a year makes – particularly in Manchester; a city renown for making things happen and getting things done. Several key Planit projects featured within last year’s stand talks have made substantial leaps forward.

During the year a giant hole, created by dropping a building to the north of the city centre, has been transformed into Sadler’s Yard at the heart of the Co-operative’s historic estate. Celebrating the city’s industrious past and creative future, decorative motifs drawn from the surrounding listed building facades and craftsmanship are embedded with the design of the streets and square. Proposals were illustrated at MIPIM 2015 by real-time drone video footage fused with virtual 3D modelling, which quickly became reality with the project completing for a pre-Christmas opening. This is the first phase of the public realm and wayfinding strategy that will spread throughout NOMA, and has led to subsequent work on residential and commercial schemes for Moda Living, and The Co-operative and Hermes Real Estate Joint Venture within the wider estate.

At Manchester’s southern gateway, First Street North city linkages and public open space, including Tony Wilson Place, have also been completed within the year. The flexible plaza provides outdoor performance space to accommodate large-scale events associated with the adjacent contemporary art, film and theatre venue, HOME.

Expansion of Manchester’s knowledge capital and international academic and scientific standing was a key theme at MIPIM 2015, with numerous projects combining to reinforce the city’s world-class reputation; particularly in the field of life sciences. Manchester Science Partnerships’ emerging proposals for the former AstraZeneca facilities at Alderley Park have since been formalised through Cheshire East Council’s approval of a framework and masterplan, establishing planning principles to bring forward development on the site. Landscape-led proposals, by Planit-IE and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, for the skillful integration of a new residential community within the historic estate have recently gained outline planning consent.

Corridor Manchester’s wide-reaching vision to concentrate knowledge-intensive businesses and institutions along Oxford Road grows ever stronger. Private and public initiatives are combining to realise both regeneration and financial benefits through world-class specialists and groundbreaking innovation. Graphene, at the cutting edge of innovation, drew world-wide attention to Corridor Manchester. The University of Manchester £60m Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) has gained planning permission, further extending the UK’s world-leading position and its ability to develop commercial applications. Public realm proposals associated with the Rafael Viñoly Architects-designed research and development facility have been designed by Planit-IE.

Moving south, design of a unifying, whilst diverse, public realm is binding together an array of historic buildings, existing buildings and new facilities in the rapidly changing Corridor environment. Brunswick Street is due to be closed to form a new greenspace at the heart of the University of Manchester’s estate, creating a lush verdant parkland that reinstates the original campus plan’s spatial qualities. We have also developed landscape proposals for a private hospital and wellbeing centre by not-for-profit healthcare provider Nuffield, maximising the healing and restorative benefits of nature. Having recently gained planning permission, this facility is set to add to Manchester’s Health infrastructure stock, the majority of which is clustered within the Corridor.

Another of the Corridor Manchester’s main aims is to realise regeneration through new private finance, creating an environment that provides a compelling offer to encourage graduate talent to stay in Manchester. The £750m redevelopment of the former BBC site on the Corridor typifies this intention. Since announcements at MIPIM 12 months ago, Planit-IE, as Lead Masterplanner, has worked jointly with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, to gain consent for the first phase of a new mixed-use community on behalf of Bruntwood and Select Property Group. The masterplan defines the framework of public spaces and routes that structures and binds together the development now known as Circle Square.

Circle Square is the subject of a Community and Innovation panel discussion, in association with Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), that will take place on The Manchester Stand at MIPIM this year. Planit-IE Managing Partner Ed Lister will be speaking alongside Chris Oglesby, Chief Executive of Bruntwood; Ken Knott, Chief Development Officer for Select Property Group; and Keith Bradley of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, under the moderation of Stephen Hodder of Hodder+Partners, immediate past president of the RIBA. Planit-IE’s placemaking approach will be considered alongside fellow speaker’s Bruce Katz’s assertion that cities have become the vanguard of policy innovation and problem-solving in the United States and across the globe.

This claim by Katz, Centennial Scholar of the Brookings Institution in Washington DC and author of ‘The Metropolitan Revolution’, is a critical reminder of our long-term responsibilities to the places we seek to create and communities we shape.

MIPIM challenges us to consider the opportunities associated with our work in a global context, prompting us to review the contribution made throughout the year to the cities within which we work and what can be achieved in the year ahead. It is a privilege to unite with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and our collaborators through Marketing Manchester; and exciting to think ‘If this much can be achieved in 12 months, how will Manchester’s cityscape have developed and shaped by next year?’