The Bartlett School of Planning


Socially Just Planning: Manchester Regime after Recession

03 December 2020, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Socially Just Planning

City Leadership, Entrepreneurial Regeneration and Economic Sustainability

This event is free.

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Jingyi Zhu

This research aims to critically assess the claim of Manchester City Council that the city has been economically transformed with a strong leadership and successful regeneration developments in the setting of municipal entrepreneurism and public-private partnerships since the 1980s. It is under this setting that a local elite network has been formulated with the primary members including Council’s political leader, chief executive, property developers and their agents, particularly office development that has been the concentration of regeneration initiatives and inward investment. This study attempts to unlock the ‘black box’ of the decision-making process for regeneration developments by investigating the complex and subtle relationship between these policy and market players in Manchester. Through interviewing City councillors, planners, developers, institutional investors and other key actors, the evidence indicates that the landscape and evolution of office market can be seen as a political product created through regeneration developments over past decades. The deemed ‘exclusive’ decision-making environment constrained by the local elite network on regeneration developments throws a question regarding the unequal power relations of participation planning observed in the process of decision-making signalling the social dimension of ‘democratic deficits’ on community participation. Moreover, the concentration of investment flowing into office market might increase the risk of market volatility during the property cycles that could possibly damage its resilience for the local economy in pursuit of economic sustainability. 

About the Speaker

Chien-Ling Lo

PhD Candidate in Art History at The Bartlett School of Planning

More about Chien-Ling Lo