Manchester City Council

National regeneration from a local perspective

In London today to speak alongside well-known environmentalist Jonathan Porritt at the Sustainable Communities Summit on the challenges of national regeneration from a local perspective.

I put forward the increasingly overwhelming evidence that cities are the key to the UK's economic growth and that dense urban living is the key to a sustainable future. We need to change our essentially anti-urban culture and recognise that increasing numbers of people want to live, work and spend time in our cities.

Plenty of other speakers were majoring on "green" issues so I wanted to make the case that sustainable communities have to be economically and socially sustainable as well as environmentally sustainable. And we need to make sure that all citizens have the opportunity to contribute to and share in wealth creation.

So what do our citizens need, apart from jobs and the skills to get those jobs?

In Manchester, we are looking at increasing the emotional resilience and well-being of our population; to teach them how to face life's challenges and get the most out of every situation and helping create a happier Manchester. We've got a number of initiatives going on across the city which really show that people take a pride in local initiatives which make a difference to their lives. Just look at the successes of our community guardians, our 100 Days campaigns and the Manchester in Bloom awards. All of them straightforward community initiatives that help local people build up respect for each other, and improve each other's lives. This isn't rocket science but it's so straightforward it can sometimes get overlooked.

There are several other interesting speakers - including Shaun McCarthy, from the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012. It's exactly five years on from our wonderful Commonwealth Games, and five years to go until London hosts the Olympics. Do they know how quickly that time will pass?

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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