What will Manchester look like in 10 or 20 years time? Given the ambition for the growth of the City and its surrounding towns, it is vital to match that aspiration with where the great majority of the growing population is likely to live; in the centre.
The Manchester Residential Quality Guidance has been developed to help shape the creation of new homes and communities across the Greater Manchester city region, beginning with the centre and its immediate surroundings. Manchester City Council are planning for the delivery of over 25,000 new homes within the decade. This ambitious quantum of development is equally matched by the Council’s desire to achieve quality of development and place.
So how do you guide the big picture, but make sure you follow through to the detail? In our minds, by first researching what are the ‘ingredients’ that contribute to residential quality. The Guidance complements existing policy and legislation; with the overarching aim of ensuring quality is prevalent throughout the design, delivery and use. Whilst setting clear quality benchmarks associated with the planning, design, construction and future management of new residential development, a ‘comply or justify’ approach is adopted to support innovation and new thinking. So, unlike London’s guidance which is all about SPACE standards, Manchester’s is about PLACE standards – you may have a smaller apartment, but it’s levels of daylight and volume, coupled with the view from the bedroom window, make it a better place than perhaps its larger neighbour with poor views and mean windows.
An outward looking and engaged city, Manchester has always drawn on international references in support of its vision to be one of world’s best place to live. Extensive research into other UK and international cities and their guidance informed development of our work -, reinforcing Manchester’s unique fabric and character through the city-specific application of lessons–learnt. Sustainable outcomes that uphold ‘Manchester: A Certain Future’, the City’s climate change action plan, also work towards a low carbon future.
Typical of the Mancunian’s independent nature, the guide steers away from a tick box conformity culture. Addressing considerations missing from precedents, Manchester’s Residential Quality Guide tackles post-planning elements such as construction, value engineering (in its truest sense!) and property management that determine long-term success and value.
The design, delivery and management of new neighbourhoods will influence the character and identity of the city for generations to come but also, and importantly, shape the communities developing within them. This guidance begins by making sure those changing the city fabric have asked themselves the fundamental questions before embarking on the detail.
Through the Steering Group’s links, the guidance is already seeing national recognition through the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
The Residential Quality Guide can be found at: http://www.manchester.gov.uk/downloads/download/6682/residential_quality_guide