Creative Urban Environments

Cities are not just about retrofitting and re-making the material fabric, but developing new and creative responses to increasingly complex challenges. In the 21st century, they are often seen as hot-beds for innovation and creativity – where exciting alternatives and experiments can be forged.

Greater Manchester is an Original Modern city: a strong industrial heritage coincides with multiple future imaginaries around the promise of the ‘creative city’. At grassroots level, cultural and creative responses typify many community responses to contemporary urban challenges - through events, forums, festivals, demonstrations, guerrilla activities etc. New alternatives are being articulated through thinking about sustainability as a socio-cultural transition and not a technical fix. Who is involved? What kinds of experiments, examples and exemplars exist? Why? What are the resources and means they have? What difference do they make?

This three-year project addresses these issues through a series of research- and practice- case studies and experiments. It examines how different interests in the ‘creative city’ do and could contribute to the development of a sustainable Greater Manchester and whether and how creative and cultural means can be deployed to create more sustainable communities across Greater Manchester. The project will build an understanding of landscapes, contexts and conditions and identify historical and contemporary cases to feed into a city-regional database of sustainability initiatives. It will then build on this baseline assessment to develop coordinated actions and evaluate learning outcomes and transferable lessons.

Photo: University of Salford


Perry, B., Smith, K., & Warren, S. (2015). Revealing and re-valuing cultural intermediaries in the “real” creative city: Insights from a diary-keeping exercise. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 18(6), 724–740. doi:10.1177/1367549415572324
Type: Scientific article (peer-reviewed)
Perry, B. (2014). Governing practices in the post-industrial city. Conference paper presented at City Futures III Conference: Cities as strategic places and players in a globalized world, Urban Affairs Association and European Urban Research Association. Paris, France, 18-20 June 2014.
Type: Conference paper (peer-reviewed)
May, T. & Perry, B. (2014). Digital intermediation and sustainability knowledges. Conference paper presentet at Unknown unknowns: unexpected outcomes from digital intermediation, Institute of Capital Culture, Liverpool John Moores University. Liverpool, UK, 18 November 2014.
Type: Conference paper (peer-reviewed)
Perry, B. (2012). Creative production and practices in urban sustainability: shifting paradigms for fair, green and dense cities? Conference poster presented at the Future Climate Dialogues, University of Aberystwyth, Wales, 2012.
Type: Conference poster
Smith, K. & Perry, B. (2113). Cities at the frontiers of 21st century Britain: Greater Manchester and the ‘original modern’ creative city. Conference paper presented at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2013: Urban transformations and city living, Royal Geographical Society. London, U.K., 28 August 2013.
Type: Conference paper (peer-reviewed)