WORKSHOPS

We were awarded extra funding from Manchester City Council to undertake a Can You Hear Me Now? side project questioning the ownership of public places. Following the proposed redevelopment of Piccadilly Gardens, we are currently running a series of public consultations on ambitious visions for the future of the Manchester Public Space that are inclusive to everyone in society, including diverse and deprived backgrounds. 

 

Covid has highlighted growing inequalities, poverty, the importance of public space, green space, access and wellbeing. Voices of ordinary Mancunians are required to challenge and change narratives. The sessions are designed to be fun and creative, but also important to direct future developments. 

In the sessions so far, we have created a series of collaborative digital art pieces rethinking public spaces to suit communities and breathing life into a space that often feels lifeless and uncomfortable. It’s exciting to think about what each group will prioritise in their version of the Gardens. The different art pieces will reflect on the commonalities and differences between citizens in what they want from their public spaces.

See the images below in our digital gallery, and descriptions of our sessions with each group underneath.

Redesign Piccadilly Gardens
Redesign Piccadilly Gardens

The Manchester Metropolitan University Students' Union group focused on natural elements in their redesign of Piccadilly Gardens and added accessible spaces for people to sit.

Tell us about your favourite public spaces?
Tell us about your favourite public spaces?

The student group described parks around South Manchester and the impact of not having a garden during the pandemic. Students were often vilified for overcrowding public parks.

Thinking about Piccadilly Gardens
Thinking about Piccadilly Gardens

ACORN mentioned how Piccadilly Gardens was dark, rundown and uncomfortable to walk through. It's architectural features seem like they are trying to hide or exclude things.

Redesign Piccadilly Gardens
Redesign Piccadilly Gardens

The Manchester Metropolitan University Students' Union group focused on natural elements in their redesign of Piccadilly Gardens and added accessible spaces for people to sit.

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We spoke with ACORN Manchester about their opinions on public space. Their redesign of Piccadilly Gardens included shelter, entertainment and rewilding the Gardens. ACORN spoke about the importance of community in public spaces, including Alexandra Park in Manchester and how its diverse population adds to a sense of safety and community. ACORN discussed how there are no spaces in the centre which are non-transactional i.e. where you don't have to buy something to be there like coffee shops. They discussed the importance of creating these spaces where people don't have to pay for access. ACORN mentioned how Piccadilly Gardens was dark, rundown and uncomfortable to walk through. It's architectural features seem like they are trying to hide or exclude things.

 

The Manchester Metropolitan University Students' Union group focused on natural elements in their redesign of Piccadilly Gardens and added accessible spaces for people to sit. The student group described parks around South Manchester and the impact of not having a garden during the pandemic. Students were often vilified for overcrowding public parks. Students discussed again the impact of not having private outdoor space. They also discussed how disabilities, cars and not having money impact on accessing public spaces. Students described Piccadilly Gardens as a generally unsafe place, where they see it more of a transit corridor. They discussed how increasing police in this area wouldn't work, as police officers can exacerbate discomfort in an area.

We are looking forward to more sessions coming soon. If you are part of a community or group based in Manchester please get in touch and say hello here. We would love to discuss your opinions on public spaces further.