Manchester City Council


A month has passed since this year's local elections. It's been a very busy month but no excuse for not resuming the blog so here goes.

I'll start with last week as it was somewhat unusual. Spent Tuesday to Friday in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as the guest of the C40 group of cities at their biennial conference. The C40 are a group of large cities ( three million + population ) from around the world who have come together to share experience on, and campaign for action on, climate change. London was a prime mover and founder member of the network, and since last November it has been chaired by Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York. C40 works very closely with the Clinton Climate Initiative, and former US President Bill Clinton was a speaker at the opening plenary, after which I had the privilege, along with about a dozen city mayors, of having a more intimate conversation with President Clinton over lunch.

I also attended a large number of seminars and working groups and was particularly interested in work Philadelphia are doing supported by the US Department of Energy on alternative energy generation, that Copenhagen are doing in developing CleanTech clusters, and in a presentation from Professor Daniel Friedman, from the University of Washington College of Built Environments, on the role of design in tackling emissions. I've also come back motivated to look further into a number of projects including New York's and Barcelona's green city plans which apparently are very strong on how you deal with the problems caused by old underground infrastructure. Lots of good contacts made and lots to learn from others good practice. Manchester was one of only a very small number of guest cities, invited because of innovative work done in the city and wider city-region, not least the development of our climate change strategy, Manchester - Our Certain Future.

Sao Paulo itself was staggering. A city of eleven million people, with a population growing by five hundred people a day, set in a metropolitan area of some twenty million people - seven or eight times the size of Greater Manchester. Inevitably such size and rapid growth puts an enormous strain on infrastructure, the most visible being the traffic jams that clog every road from early morning until late at night. Probably the best known is unauthorised development, the favelas, or slums that have sprung up around the city largely as a response to housing shortages. I visited Sao Paulo's largest favela, Heliopolis, a slum housing one hundred thousand people, on Friday morning, to look at what the city was doing to either regularise the housing or to replace that which was at most risk of collapse or caused most health problems, principally through the direct discharge of water and sewage waste, and to look at what they were doing to build waste recycling with the objective of becoming a zero waste city. I reckoned that if they can do it there, in those conditions, we should have no problems in Manchester.

Make a comment

There are 8 responses to “Procrastination...”

  1. Bah Humbug Says:

    Surely with the technological advances made in recent years some kind of online conference would have been more appropriate. Also I didn't realise that Manchester had over three million people

  2. No to Humbugs Says:

    Surely with all the technological advances made in recent years Bah Humbug could buy some anti-depressants on the internet and maybe stop being such a depressing idiot. It's way too late for this type of nonsense

  3. won't go on the blog again Says:

    won't go on the blog again - too censured. If it may at all come across as anti-council then it won't get on here. Almost like the Council is afraid of negativity; or realism?

  4. Edson Arantes Says:

    Wow - nice trip!
    Maybe we could form some formal links, e.g. twinning, with Sao Paolo - since both our cities are footballing hotbeds?
    Failing that we could twin one of the Favelas with Collyhurst!

  5. Jim Mogg Says:

    No to Humbugs:

    I quite like Bah Humbugs comment. It doesn't sound too eco friendly with the plane travel. It would have been better to tele conference. Or was the opportunity to meet Bill Clinton too tempting to miss?

  6. Disheartened Says:

    Yes is it soo censured my previous comment was not recorded!

  7. Vain Alan Says:

    Surely you mean regularize?

  8. REDSTEVE57 Says:

    To Edson Arantes

    Implying that Collyhurst resembles a Favela and should be twinned with Sao Paulo on that basis is a disgraceful comment from someone that has distorted and biased views about a neighbourhood that he has probably never visted never mind lived in. If you only negative views on Collyhurst, keep them to your self.



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

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