Manchester City Council

Resilient Growth

Somewhat bleary-eyed having flown into Manchester this morning after a couple of days in Chicago. I had been attending ( at the invitation of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ( OECD )'s Secretary-General, the US Secretary for Housing and Urban Development, the Mayor of Chicago, and as Chair of the C40 Group of Cities the Mayor of New York ) the fourth meeting of the OECD's Mayors and Ministers Roundtable to talk about mobilizing investments for urban sustainability, job creation and resilient growth.

The conference brought together around twenty mayors and a similar number of government ministers from every continent along with a smattering of ex-PMs and Presidents for a long day of intensive discussion. Unlike most conferences, it was very light on big set speeches, and after the introductions by the hosts who also co-chaired, contributions were limited to three minutes at a time. That meant there was a lot of time to share knowledge and experience and to thinkabout how we can use public sector leverage to promote green growth.

The second day saw the presentation of an OECD report into the Chicago tri-state area - their equivalent of Greater Manchester but with four times the population in an area of 14 counties across Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, and with a couple of thousand municipalities and other elected public bodies. Interestingly many of the issues facing the area resonate with the conclusions of the Manchester Independent Economic Review published in 2009 and I had been asked to respond to the presentation of the report. The item from my response that really attracted attention was the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and a large number of delegates grappling with issues of metropolitan governance in their own cities and countries wanted more information on the CA. Also took the opportunity for a couple of other meetings whilst there, most notably with the Chief Executive of AON, a company with a relatively well-publicised relationship with Manchester ( and seven out of the ten GM Councils are also AON customers ) but who also support research at Manchester University into safer and more effective ways of doing mine clearance, and with the British Consul-General talking about how we can grow trade and investment with Chicago and the wider mid-west.

There are 5 responses to “Resilient Growth”

  1. franky Says:

    Is Resilient Growth the same as sustainable growth: the growth that does not replete the earth's resources?

  2. giles Says:

    please can say how much this visit cost. It is difficult to see how this can be justified given the cuts in vital services being made by the council

  3. Nowt New, Then... Says:

    @giles. There is nothng we can learn form our peers overseas, and we shouldn't spend money sending reps from Manchester to attend conferences and the like when money is tight. After all, what is there to be gained by meeting people from other countries with similar urban problems and sharing information? Manchester CC knows it all and does it best, we're British after all, and we used to govern an Empire. They should all come to Manchester and benefit from our excellent conferencing facilities here so the likes of Sir Richard can attend with minimal expense to Council Tax payers. Or perhaps the world can video conference...

  4. Interested Manc Says:

    Whilst agreeing with Giles that a culture of "jollies" at the tax payers expense is not acceptable now, and in reality, never should've been, I can't agree with him about this trip.

    The bottom line is we are in dire economic straits and the causes are not directly of the making of the people of Manchester or their elected representatives. We do not have a monopoly on the design of effective solutions- like everybody else we are struggling to balance the budget with the least pain to the most vulnerable and the effort to lobby, exert influence and, most importantly, learn from others shouldn't be lost.

    Manchester has a lot to offer a first world in recession by sharing its experience but more importantly by taking every opportunity to exploit new ideas and opportunties. Other people's solutions could contribute to our recovery.

    I suspect that the trip was at least partially funded as RL was an invitee and totally agree that it would be wise to explain the costs for reasons of openess and transparency but I believe that even if some cost was borne by the City the potential benefits of looking for solutions and allies on the world stage shouldn't be missed- we need all the help we can get and being seen as contributors to the creative thinking that can alleviate some of the mess can only be a good thing.

  5. Alex Says:

    Why can't this stuff be done by video conferencing? The latest technology allows for such meetings. There is no longer a need for people to be flying around the world to share experiences and ideas.
    I also agree that letting us see what the cost of this trip has been is not an unreasonable request.