Manchester: A City in Reinvention
Manchester, a city known for its industrious bee, is set to experience an immense buzz on Saturday as it hosts the first all-Manchester FA Cup final. The city will be filled with reds and blues, as well as tens of thousands of music fans in town to see Elton John, Coldplay, and the Arctic Monkeys. Manchester is a city in fête, viewed as a model for regeneration, and is blazing a trail again, pivoting its economy around culture and entertainment for an increasingly youthful population.
The city’s skyline has been transformed at breakneck speed by an internationally financed property development boom, which has underpinned its reinvention. However, there is another dimension to the Manchester miracle that should not be ignored. The city’s regeneration has been hailed as an exemplary success story, but there has been a downside to its property-led boom. An economic gulf has emerged between the thriving centre and far poorer outlying districts such as Wythenshawe.
The Need for Rebalancing
Rents have gone up at a dizzying rate, amid a serious dearth of affordable and social housing. Expectations that city centre growth would deliver greater prosperity across Greater Manchester have proved unfounded. Extravagant profits have been siphoned out of the city by private investors allowed to seek huge rewards with few strings attached. A rebalancing is desperately required, in a regional economy that has developed too unevenly and too unequally.
Greater Manchester’s mayor, Andy Burnham, hopes to use the new trailblazer powers to achieve that through projects such as Atom Valley, which aims to create an advanced manufacturing hub in the much poorer north of Greater Manchester. In a city that has made a habit of getting ahead of the times, the next Manchester model is set to see local government play a far more strategic, interventionist role. That would be a result for both sides of the great red/blue divide.
Manchester is a city in reinvention, but it must not forget its outlying districts. The city’s success story should be one of shared prosperity, not just for the centre but for all its citizens. Manchester’s future is bright, but it must be a future that benefits everyone.
Keywords: Manchester, FA Cup final, regeneration, property development, economic gulf, rebalancing, Andy Burnham, shared prosperity.
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