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Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Manchester rejects 'clone towns' for 'creative hubs'
Another report from New Start. Apparently Manchester is going to "break the clone towns mould by creating thriving hubs of independent businesses in disadvantaged communities. Details of the ‘creative hubs’, comprising independent facilities such as restaurants, food shops, bars and art galleries, will be included in Manchester’s city growth strategy next week."

Oh, the originality. Bars and art galleries will definitely save the "16 wards south of the city centre in which almost a third of adults have no qualifications and more than half those of working age are either unemployed or economically inactive." Instead of 'clone towns' you get clone creative quarters - pockets of graphic designers who relish the urban grit of working in the ghetto but go home at night to their comfortable semi or loft conversion. I wish that Richard Florida had never written that bloody book - it's actually pretty good, but has been horrendously misinterpreted by dumb city planners.

Really, who comes up with these ideas? "Longsight will be partnered with Rusholme, home of the ‘curry mile’ to develop an ‘Asian brand’. South Levenshulme will be developed as a centre for the antiques and architectural salvage trade." Since when has anyone found that architectural salvage is really a core enough industry that it can drive the regeneration of a whole area? and what do the unemployed and ill-educated of Levenshulme think about all this? Oh, maybe that's someone's idea of a joke - everyone's already into the breaking and entering business, because that's what unemployed scallies do, so going into salvage is a natural step. Really witty.

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