Manchester- Northern and Millenium Quarters

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                        MANCHESTER  – Changing City

 

Purpose                                  Manchester is a classic case of a de-industrialised city. In the last 25 years, Manchester has made sustained attempts at re-invention, renewal and regeneration. Different areas in the city centre have different roles in this process and are quite distinct from each other in function, feel and appearance. This assignment asks you to look carefully at two distinct areas in this context.

 

Aims                                       To study examples of difference in urban space, and senses of place in Manchester city centre, using field observation as a methodology.

 

Itinerary

  • Observation in the Millennium Quarter
  • Observation around the Northern Quarter

 

 

What you need to produce    1000 words on your comparative observations about the Northern Quarter and 1000 words on the Millennium Quarter. Total: about 2000 words.

 

Methodology                          1. You should try and familiarise yourself with the history of recent urban change in central Manchester before this exercise. Read relevant urban geography sources.

 

  1. We will walk around each area. After that you can work in pairs (or more) to look at the detail of each area. Note down your impressions around the following categories:
    1. Public space
    2. Architecture
    3. Function
    4. Lifestyles
    5. Consumption

 

 

  1. What use of space by people can you observe? Who are the people on the streets, in shops, in cafes, etc? Could you describe and analyse the particularities of people in each place?

 

  1. As you realise the differences between the two areas make sure you are mapping, drawing and photographing them as well as thinking about and writing notes about them.

 

 

 

Example: What might an analysis say about consumption MQ and N4?

 

Here are two opposing academic views of consumption:

 

  1. Consumption as morally negative. Social interrelations are dominated by the acquisition of products and services. This is often interpreted as a romantic individualised compensation for the alienation and ‘loss’ associated with commercial capitalism in modern societies. Public spaces are increasingly replaced by spaces of spectacle and artifice. Life itself has become shaped by our submissive adoption to consumer identities and desires.

 

  1. Consumption as creative. People may use products and spaces of consumption creatively to express identity. Individual biographical, cultural, gender and family forces shape the relationship between consumer-product form a key part of everyday life. Shopping is a learnt ‘spatial performance’ in which ‘buying something’ is but a small part. People are drawn to certain places and products and discriminate against others.

 

 

Some differing academic thoughts on ‘zones of consumption’ like Exchange Square and N4:

 

  1. Seductive capital  Such places are homogenous consumer mechanisms, creating consumer homogeneity. The individual participates in society only through economic exchange, and gratification is predestined by instrumental ‘come hither’ plots, lures and decoys. The glitzy façade hides a grimmer reality of hard edged capital and exclusion

 

  1. Semiotic democracy Shopping areas are open to a multitude of interpretations, and may present opportunities for irony, play and empowerment (such as for ‘ordinary women’) that are not available in other places. Shopping itself can have subversive qualities –even have a sense of turning normality on its head.

 

  1. Differented places and relationships Shopping areas have their own identity which comes from age and location which might  contrast with other spaces (such as the ones we’ll visit?). Malls, for example, can be a real boon to certain people, such as isolated elderly, but equally can be bland for certain sub-cultural groups. In other words, people can define themselves in relation to these consumer spaces.

Title of Assignment

 

Manchester – Northern and Millennium Quarters

 

Detailed instructions on the next page.

 

 

Learning Outcomes

 

Contributes to learning outcomes numbered 1 to 4  in an applied context  (see module descriptor at the end of this document)

 

 

Deadline     16 January 2014

Return date  6 February 2014

 

Regulations

 

  1. Submit via Blackboard
  2. Lateness penalties will be applied (as outlined in the School Guide to Assessment) in ALL instances, unless a documented case can be made for an extension, in advance of the submission date.

 

 

 

 

 

 Context                                  Manchester is a classic case of a de-industrialised city. In the last 30 years,  Manchester has made sustained attempts at re-invention, renewal and regeneration. Other factors have also contributed to a revival of the city centre.  Different areas in the city centre have different roles in this process and are quite distinct from each other in function, feel and appearance.

 

Purpose                                  To study examples of the renewal of urban space in Manchester city centre using field observation as a methodology

 

Itinerary                                 1. Meet outside National Football Museum (aka Urbis)

  1. Observation in the Millennium Quarter
  2. Observation around the Northern Quarter

 

 

What you need to produce    1000 words on your comparative observations about the Northern Quarter and 1000 words on the Millennium Quarter.

 

Methodology   (and assessment guidelines)                      

 

  1. You should familiarise yourself with planning documents, history and drivers of recent urban change in central Manchester before this exercise.  A report which demonstrates understanding of these will receive credit.

 

  1. Walk around each area. Note down your impressions around the following categories:
    1. Public space
    2. Architecture
    3. Function
    4. Lifestyles
    5. Consumption
  1. What place-specific practices of consumption take place in each area?

 

  1. What use of the space by people can you observe? Could you list the ‘micro-spatial’ practices particular to the place?

 

  1. As you realise the differences between the two areas make sure you are thinking about, and noting down, why they might exist.

 

References                             Read ‘Shurmer-Smith, L and Shurmer Smith, P (2002) ‘Field observation: looking at Paris’ in  Shurmer-Smith, Pam (ed.) (2002) Doing Cultural Geography Sage, London, 165-175. You will also find Marcus Doel’s chapter useful.

 

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