This afternoon I'm at CUBE for the launch of an exhibition called Sustainable Stories ( It runs until next Tuesday ).
The exhibition comes out of research carried out by Salford Universities Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures ( SURF ) as part of a world-wide research programme by a Swedish organisation, Mistra Urban Futures, which is a global centre for sustainable urban development which focuses on creating fair, green and dense cities. As well as speaking at the opening I have written a " perspective " for the research team looking at how I see issues of sustainability in the Manchester city-region. It will be published eventually along with a number of other people's points of view so I'm not going to go into detail here. The basic contention of the piece and of my talk this afternoon is that dense, urban living is the key to a sustainable future and it is the city that is the ultimate representation of the urban form. One of the obstacles we face in city-building is a long-standing and profoundly anti-urban culture in this country. For over 150 years cities have been seen as problems not solutions. It is an attitude we have been successfully confronting in Manchester not only through the popularity of city-centre living but also in the regeneration of inner-city neighbourhoods in places like Hulme, Ardwick and Beswick. There is no pure green solution to a sustainable future. The economy has to work too, and in particular those who can should be able to work in jobs that pay well enough to give them a decent quality of life, and that does mean that if we want a green future we also need job-creating growth.