Manchester City Council

After Austerity

Took part this lunchtime in the launch of a report commissioned by UNISON from CLES, the Centre for Local Economic Strategies, " After Austerity:an economic plan for the North West ". It's great to see the union contributing to a wider political debate about our future prosperity and playing an active role in promoting ideas that would not just benefit the North West, but the whole of the Midlands and the North.

At the heart of the report is the question of what really needs to be done to geographically rebalance the UK economy. It strongly makes the case for the devolution necessary to better promote job-creating growth and to deliver the integrated public service reform needed to maximise the ability of citizens to contribute to and benefit from economic prosperity. And it makes the case that all of this requires strong local government, not local councils that have been seriously weakened both by the severity, and in the case of most if not all of North West England, the unfairness of the cuts. I just hope the title is a good piece of forecasting and that there will be an after austerity.

Earlier in the week I visited Arup's Manchester office to see, or should I say hear, their SoundLab. In the middle of their fourth floor offices they have created a space that is acoustically insulated from the rest of the building and the outside world and inside is pretty much acoustically dead. Add a top quality sound reproduction system and they are able to model and reproduce for real a whole range of sound experiences. I heard from the centre of Manchester, the same piece of music being played in concert halls in Vienna and Amsterdam, and was able to contrast the bright sound of one with the warm sound of the other. I was able to hear the ambient sound of a quiet rural setting, and realise when it was switched of and silence descended just how noisy it was. I was able to sit in the garden of the Black Swan at Hollin's Cross and hear what a high-speed train would sound like crossing the proposed viaduct nearby - a lot quieter than the trams and trains heard from Dukes 92 yard. The room has lots of applications in acoustic modelling, sound-proofing and noise attenuation, and as in that last example, as a tool for public consultation

There are 2 responses to “After Austerity”

  1. Joe Says:

    What did the 'top quality sound reproduction system' consist of? What make of amp and loudspeakers?

  2. Paulownia Says:

    Love the new trees at the back of the Town Hall.



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

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