On 18th November 2019 Gina Windley wrote:

What makes a liveable city?

A group of us attended Design Manchester’s debate last week on ‘What makes a liveable city?’. The discussion covered a huge variety of topics, such as the lack of funding for community spaces, regeneration, gentrification, the importance of the high street, housing and affordability.

It was an interesting event, as the panellists were very inspiring people who, surprisingly, agreed on many of the points covered. Our own Jo McCafferty was joined by Ben Young, creative principal at Standard Practice; Dr Erinma Bell, co-founder and chair of CARISMA and Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester; Patricia Brown, British Property Federation’s vice chair of development and Dr Stephen Willacy, chief city architect of Denmark’s second city, Aarhus.

The debate opened with the news that Manchester was named the UK’s most liveable city in The Economist’s 2019 Global Liveability Index, joined only by London in the Global Top 50. The event was formatted like Question Time, with many questions put forward, including: what makes a city ‘liveable’? Who are liveable cities for?

Throughout, the key theme was community – creating and involving communities, both new and existing. There was a discussion that a liveable city must have provision of places for people to assemble, much like how small towns were built around a church, new communities should be built around a non-transactional community place.