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Give Us Some Space?! Why Greening the Northern Quarter Needs to Begin With a Conversation With You

Imagine this...

Resident 1: “okay, so we might have somewhere we can make into a green space”

Resident 2: “That’s great.”

Business Owner: “Yes! That’s brilliant”

Resident 1, 2 & Business Owner: “Mmmm….Okay... Now what?”

Calling all people of the Northern Quarter

The local greening groups of the Northern Quarter, Manchester - A New Leaf, NQ Greening and ParkStarter - are working with The Curiosity Bureau and HighWire research partners Becca Taylor and Mike Stead, and together they are curious of green spaces in Manchester. Perhaps, and more importantly, they are curious of what people think about doing.

The research project asks:

1. What does greening the Northern Quarter mean to you?

2. What technology and digital communication is being used by you in response to the challenge of greening an urban space in Manchester?

To answer these questions Becca and Mike are on a tour of the Northern Quarter. Local businesses such as North Tea Power, Night & Day, Fig & Sparrow, El Capo, Takk, Oak Street Cafe, Wood, Cord as well as many more, and local offices, studios and residents homes have kindly shown support in hosting a number of curious conversations - and you are invited to join in.

The first will kick off at 9am on Tuesday 10th June (with more dates and times ready to be released). Spaces are limited to 6-8 people per conversation and therefore the location is only released after you register your interest. To register and to receive the location email:

Local businesses and cafés will host small curious conversations and each will last 60-90mins. Designed and facilitated by Becca and Mike, this is an opportunity for you to contribute ideas before work (9-10am), in your lunch break (12-1pm) or at the end of the day (5-6pm or 7-9pm).

The focus of the conversation is to find your response to the very real challenge that exists in and across the neighbourhood of the Northern Quarter – the lack of green space.

Councillor Beth Knowles of Manchester City Centre is in full support of local greening projects and says “One of my main concerns is the lack of green space in the northern quarter… …having worked with the community over the past few years there is the support to improve what exists, the challenge now is with the community, people have to be innovative with the opportunities to green the spaces we do have. To make green spaces possible in the Northern Quarter people have to talk with one other and work together to improve their own space”

Following the success of the local campaign to stop the planning application of another car park on the Dobbins site on Oldham Street (next to The Castle Hotel) this means there is a very real opportunity for the community to take their campaign for green spaces to the next stage.

What next?

Your involvement with this project begins here:

  • What if the local community was given the opportunity to occupy the space?

  • What challenges and concerns do we have?

  • What possibilities exist amongst us?

  • Where do we go to even begin to make it happen?

Throughout June there will be conversations at breakfast, lunch or supper time, dates and times are leaked via Twitter via @cu1turesponge @NQGreening @ANewLeafMCR

We appreciate not everyone is on twitter so please do get in touch via email Or do not hesitate to call 07816 273 675

Spaces are limited to 6-8 people per conversation. To confirm a space, register your interest ASAP by emailing and Becca and Mike will contact you directly with a location.

Host Your Own Conversation

You are also very welcome to host your own supper club conversation in your home with friends and family. Becca and Mike will come and join you, set the scene for your guests and document your response.

This is an inventive method of research and it is backed by ethics approval of Lancaster University and during your involvement will be asked to sign a consent form, this is because the research will be made public and fed back into the community for use by the community to seek funding and development on greening the Northern Quarter.

All participants and hosts will be invited to a special exhibition in August to see and reflect back on the research experience. Details to follow.


Shall we start a conversation?

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