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RIVAL CITIES The role of rivalry on urban development: the case of Liverpool & Manchester

A dissertation submitted to the Manchester School of Architecture for the degree of Bachelor of Architecture


Richard Brown The Manchester School of Architecture University of Manchester Manchester Metropolitan University ID: 03051793

DECLARATION No portion of the work referred to in the dissertation has been submitted in support of an application for another degree or qualification of this or any other university or other institute of learning.

COPYRIGHT STATEMENT (1) Copyright in text of this thesis rests with the author. Copies (by any process) either in full, or of extracts, may be made only in accordance with instructions given by the Author and lodged in the John Rylands Library of Manchester. Details may be obtained from the Librarian. This page must form part of any such copies made. Further copies (by any process) of copies made in accordance with such instructions may not be made without the permission (in writing) of the Author.

(2) The ownership of any intellectual property rights which may be described in this thesis is vested in the Manchester School of Architecture, subject to any prior agreement to the contrary, and may not be made available for use by third parties without the written permission of the University, which will prescribe the terms and conditions of any such agreement.

(3) Further information on the conditions under which disclosures and exploitation may take place is available from the Head of Department of the School of Environment and Development.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Many thanks to my dissertation supervisor Richard Brook. Thanks also to my Landscape and Urbanism studio coordinators, Nick Dunn and Tom Jefferies.

In addition I would also like to thank my Friends and Family for their support to me while I was producing this dissertation.




CHAPTER 1 Introduction


Changing Landscape


Historical Rivalry


Understanding Rivalry: A modern day insight


CHAPTER 2 Identifying Rivalry within a historic framework


Industrial Pioneers


Intercity Collaboration


Industrial Decline: Birth of Competition


Deindustrialization: The Aftermath


Political Paralysis


CHAPTER 3 The Urban Left / City of Revolution


New Partnerships




Urban Visions


After the blast


Future Perspectives


CHAPTER 4 Capitalizing Culture


Pariah to Paradise?




Attempts at Forging New Intercity Relationship


The Northern Way


Final Conclusion







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ABSTRACT Manchester and Liverpool have a unique urban relationship. Since the late 19th century this has been characterised by an underlying rivalry born from economic and social competition. However this was not always the case. During the Industrial Revolution, both cities thrived through collaboration. Both achieved international standing and great wealth. The building of the Manchester Ship Canal removed the imperative for co-operation. For a while Manchester continued to flourish and Liverpool began a slow decline, but neither city could escape the consequences of de-industrialisation. Only in the 1990s and 2000s have the cities begun to emerge into economic prosperity. Manchester with shrewd political leadership and unrelenting entrepreneurialism has capitalised on its location, but Liverpool continues to lag. The 2008 award as European Capital of Culture combined with the current building of the largest retail development in Europe, Liverpool One, perhaps offers the chance for renaissance. Will this work to Liverpool’s advantage, when so many previous regeneration projects have not delivered on their promises? If it does, must that be to Manchester’s detriment? Alternatively, can a new era of regional cooperation benefit both? This dissertation reviews the historical context, uses it to review the prospects for Liverpool’s regeneration and considers the nature of rivalry and co-operation.


CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION This dissertation explores the nature of “rivalry” between the Cities of Manchester and Liverpool, the two principal cities in the Northwest of England. Separated by a mere 35 miles, the history of these renowned cities has been intrinsically intertwined, shaping and forming the Northwest region as we know it today. Since each city established itself as a regional power, there has always been a competitive nature between the two; be it sporting, economic or cultural.

In 2008 a new chapter begins in this historic rivalry is set to unfold. After the considerable economic decline of the 1960's, 70’s and 80’s, the past 15 years has seen a flurry of economic development in both cities that has dramatically changed the shape and appearance of these once primarily industrial centres. Against historical convention, it has been Manchester that has undoubtedly, firmly established itself as the economic leader of the region.


partly fast-tracked by reconstruction following the IRA bombing of 1996 has seen a vast commercial overhaul of the city centre allowing the city to rapidly modernise and establish a strong cosmopolitan brand.

This urban transition was possible as the city enthusiastically

embraced the new economy of high-level services and conspicuous cultural consumption fronted by aggressive self promotion (Peck & Ward, 2002). In contrast, while Manchester's entrepreneurial led “can-do” approach redevelopment goes from strength to strength, it has been left to Liverpool to play catch-up. Past redevelopment has been sporadic and often tainted by some high profile failures, such as the infamous Fourth Grace fiasco.

Nevertheless off the back of these failings

Liverpool city centre is now riding a new wave of redevelopment and commercial optimism.

CHANGING LANDSCAPE The famous Liverpool skyline is now dominated by the silhouette of construction cranes, paving the way for the new and modern developments springing up over the city centre. A dense cluster of cranes, just beyond the historic waterfront, marks the site of Liverpool's retail led, flagship project, “Liverpool One,” also known as “The Paradise Project.” This huge £500 Million, 42 acre regeneration scheme, funded by Grosvenor development group, will provide 1.6 million square feet of retail and mixed use space.

This new development, in conjunction with Liverpool's

“successful” European Capital of Culture bid, culminating with the title in 2008, looks to be an attempt to emulate the success of Manchester's own urban regeneration schemes. This city wide intervention may finally provide Liverpool with the ability to compete with Manchester's commercial prowess. Previous attempts to regenerate the city have been relatively unsuccessful, notably the ill-fated Garden Festival, undertaken by the Merseyside Development Corporation in 1984.

Billed as “a five month pageant of horticultural excellence and spectacular

entertainment", it was initially a success, attracting 3.5 million visitors in the 5 and a half months it was open.

But soon after its closure it became a derelict wasteland; a remnant of

Liverpool’s failure to stimulate an enduring period of economic regeneration.

Will this latest gamble prove to be Liverpool's saviour lifting it out of its current retail gloom? Or will it become another of Liverpool's great failures? Is there a danger that Liverpool


has got its timing wrong: Manchester’s reconstruction was on the back of the boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s; Liverpool is launching a major bid for growth as the news is dominated by talk of the "Credit Crunch" and recession?

HISTORICAL RIVALRY Rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester is certainly a complex phenomenon, which has fluctuated over time (Latham, 2007). This investigation looks at the role Rivalry has played and continues to play in the cities development. Interpreting the evolution of rivalry in recent times is by no means a straightforward piece of analysis. There is no doubt that a fundamental “rivalry” exists between Liverpool and Manchester. By definition the term rivalry refers to “competition”; in this instance urban competition; but what is rivalry in the context of two historic cities? Is it a meaningless metaphysical mindset, a conception stemming from Liverpudlian and Mancunian pride? If it exists, how has it influenced the past and present; what role will it play in future development? Will rivalry between the two encourage the development of both or neither? Perhaps “rivalry” acts as a potential antagonistic stumbling block for regional urban collaboration? Can a metropolitan rivalry be controlled?

To gain a greater insight into the “rivalry” between these two cities, this investigation will focus not only on Liverpool One, but also its contextual position within the historic background of each city. Beginning with the industrial revolution and its catalytic effect of the growth of both cities I will chart the urban development that ensued and the consequences of the postindustrial era beginning after 1920. This analysis will allow me to construct a chronology that illustrates the creation and evolution of this so called rivalry.

Throughout history there have been key turning points that have formed this modern day contest. Perhaps the most significant event was the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal, opened in 1894.

This development created a sense of heightened economic conflict between the North’s

principal industrial powers, forming a legacy of political tension, social unrest and of course the rivalry which we find today.

UNDERSTANDING RIVALRY: A MODERN DAY INSIGHT Liverpool One provides me with the opportunity to observe a modern day development of similar scope and significance that will undoubtedly stimulate the rivalry once again and play a large role in the future of these two cities. By witnessing this development as it unfolds and assessing the how and why, I aim to gain a greater understanding of the true essence of rivalry. I will then construct my own interpretation of the role that rivalry will have to play in the future development of these two historic urban landmarks.


CHAPTER 2 IDENTIFYING RIVALRY WITHIN A HISTORIC FRAMEWORK Rivalry, as a result of urban competition is a long-term creation. Manifested over a substantial period of time, it requires historical development and evolution to stimulate its intensity. The case of Liverpool and Manchester is certainly no exception. Both cities have an extensive and dynamic history that reaches beyond regional and national boundaries, to the global realm. Their close proximity has ensured the establishment of an inter-woven linked history that has developed over the past 300 years, resulting in the socio-economic rivalry which we can glimpse today.

“The cities of Manchester and Liverpool in England’s North West region have historically had a symbiotic, if fractious, relationship with each other…” (Harding et al., 2004: 33).

To understand the modern day evolution of rivalry and its future role in urban development, a historic pretext is required to contextualize the relationship between both cities. However the combined history of Liverpool and Manchester is long and complex. As rewarding as a true in-depth historical investigation would be, it would be an unfeasible method of exploring the roots and evolution of rivalry. However over the years there have been many significant historical events that have played important roles in the formation of each city and their inter-city relationship. It is a review of some of these major events that will be the focal point of this historical synopsis, as they illustrate the true foundations of this urban rivalry.

INDUSTRIAL PIONEERS Liverpool’s early existence was born from a strategic requirement. Located on the North bank of the Mersey estuary, it was seen as a key location that could be utilized as a harbour to re-supply English forces in Ireland. Consequently in 1207, King John of England officially founded the Borough of Liverpool. In contrast the city of Manchester dates back to the Roman period. In AD 79 the Romans built a fort on the banks of the River Irwell named Mancunium.

For Centuries it

remained a diminutive market town, until the 1400’s when a large influx of Flemish Weavers settled in the area; an early sign of the impending textile based industry (Spartacus school resources, 2005).

From the early 17th Century Liverpool played a key role in the Slave trade. Substantial income off the back of this tarnished industry allowed the town of Liverpool rapidly to grow and prosper, placing Liverpool firmly on the international map. In contrast the development of Manchester had been more gradual. By the mid 16th Century it was playing a central role in manufacture and trade of linen and wool. Towards the 18th century the role of cotton was playing a far more significant part in Manchester economy than the traditional textiles. In 1736, the Mersey and Irwell River were finally made navigable allowing Manchester to efficiently transport its goods to Liverpool for export to the far reaches of the British Empire. As a result the first major economic link was established between the cities. And barely 30 years later, this form of transportation was taken


to a new level with the construction of the Bridgewater Canal, Britain’s first completely artificial waterway.

FIGURES 1 & 2: Manchester’s Cotton Mills (above left) were the backbone of its industry. While Liverpool Docks (above right) were essential to is economic success.

INTERCITY COLLABORATON The birth of the industrial revolution saw significant development of inter-city connectivity. By the beginning of the 19th century a form of industrial and economic interdependent collaboration had developed.

Manchester had firmly established itself as the centre of the

global market for cotton goods. Huge textile mills built to accommodate the mechanized weaving systems allowed Manchester to vastly increase its production output, and by 1800 the immediate population had dramatically risen to upwards of 90,000. However Manchester’s economy was not solely dependant on the textile industry; it had developed promising sub-industries within the chemical and metal sectors. After the abolition of the slave trade in 1808 (which had proven to be enormously lucrative for the city) Liverpool’s, solely shipping based economy found it had to rely other trade commodities; the solution was to dedicate its docks to serving Manchester’s thriving cotton textile industry. The seeds of a capital driven collaboration had firmly been sewn. This new found complementary partnership was to be reinforced by the construction of the world’s first passenger railway.

“The total quantity of goods passing between Liverpool and Manchester is estimated to be 1,000 tons per day. The average length of time taken by canal is 36 hours. The average charge has been 15s a ton. By the projected railroad, the transit of goods between Liverpool and Manchester will be four or five hours, and the charge to the merchant reduced by at least one-third.” - Liverpool & Manchester Railroad Company prospectus, 1824

Despite fierce objection from the owners of the Canal Companies (who then had a monopoly on the transport of goods), the Liverpool and Manchester line was completed in 1826 and officially opened in 1830 by the Duke of Wellington. Conceived by businessman James Saunders, the line was seen as a potential way to dramatically reduce transport costs of raw materials and finished goods between the mills of Manchester and docks of Liverpool.

The line was a highly profitable success with competition between the canals and railways keeping transportation costs down. With the relationship between the cities now firmly established,


Manchester received close to half of Liverpool’s railway traffic. Liverpool and Manchester’s new found vast wealth (although it belonged to a small minority) stimulated a honey pot effect on the North of England enticing more and more workers into the mills and docks, although housing conditions were said to be appalling. A young Friedrich Engels went on to describe Manchester as the true archetypal industrial city (Oswalt, P. Shrinking Cities Volume 1 p.404-406). In the following years the population of both cities was to dramatically increase, with Manchester being granted city status as its population reached 300,000 in 1853 and Liverpool receiving city status as its population soared to over 500,000 in 1880 (Oswalt, P. Shrinking Cities Volume 1 p.404-406). The seemingly mutually beneficial relationship appeared unbreakable and during the mid 19th century the cities were to reach the peak of their influence and wealth.

During a visit to

Manchester in the 1840’s Alexis de Tocqueville likened the city to a “filthy sewer” from which nevertheless flowed “pure gold.” However the first signs of industrial decline were beginning to appear; marking a new age of urban competition between the former collaborators.

INDUSTRIAL DECLINE: BIRTH OF COMPETITION Towards the end of the 19th Century, increased competition from abroad as rival nations adopted the latest industrial technology stifled demand for Manchester’s produce.

It became

increasingly difficult for the mills of Manchester to maintain production levels, in particular during the American Civil War, as Union forces relentlessly blockaded cotton suppliers in the Southern States. It was not long before it became economically viable and cheaper to import finished produce from abroad, particularly with the adaptation of mass production techniques in Germany, the USA and Russia.

These changes in international trading patterns severely damaged

the North of England’s Economy.

It became ever difficult to find investors to fund new

technological innovations and as a result Manchester once cutting edge production lines began to become redundant and obsolete. The future international rivals had caught up with the pioneers of industrialization (Kidd, K. Shrinking Cities Volume 1 p.407).

As Manchester began to struggle, its capitalist driven leaders began to look for a solution to their plight. The Liverpool-Manchester collaboration had proved a mutually beneficial venture over the years.

However it was the Merchants of Liverpool that had obtained genuine wealth,

forming an elite social class and the highest number of Millionaires outside of the capital. The phrase “the Liverpool Gentleman and the Manchester Man,” became common and was used to mockingly illustrate Manchester’s primarily industrial and working-class image.

Manchester was wholly

dependant on the port as an outlet for its produce; its landlocked position meant that all its trade passed directly through the port of Liverpool. As no alternatives were available, the Port was able to place excessive tolls which were prohibitive, significantly reducing profitability. As Liverpool grew rich at Manchester’s expense, a feeling of resentment began to spread. It was at this point that the Liverpool-Manchester relationship dramatically turned; the social climate was predestined to kindle an economic backlash of huge significance.

Manchester devised an ambitious strategy to reduce the costs incurred by the port of Liverpool. It involved the construction of a canal that would allow shipping to go directly to the docks, liberating Manchester and negating Liverpool’s stranglehold over international trade. In 1882


the proposal was spearheaded by Daniel Adamson, a well known industrialist and engineer. His enthusiasm brought financial backing from Manchester’s politicians and businessmen, and a vigorous press campaign appealing to the civic pride of the local population ensured the proposal was strongly supported by all the city’s social classes.

Understandably the scheme was not

welcomed warmly by Liverpool and its Railway Companies, which were predominantly controlled by the city’s wealthy leaders. They viewed it as a devious plot to disrupt Liverpool’s backbone industry, which would result in an end to their ongoing prosperity; without trade from Manchester, Liverpool’s ports would be destined to become superfluous.

Initially the controversial scheme was rejected by the House of Lords.

But after years of

sustained political pressure, to the despondency of Liverpool’s Businessmen, the scheme was eventually given approval and a Bill was passed. After funds were raised, construction began in 1887 and the development finally opened in May, 1894. The Manchester Ship Canal was perceived as great










entrepreneurialism that Manchester had shown throughout the industrial revolution.


In the

short-term the canal satisfied its objectives, forcing Liverpool’s shipping and its railway companies to reduce their handling fees, and ultimately reinforced its industrial strength by reinventing Manchester into a port of international standing. Whilst it would prove a valuable economic asset until the container revolution during the 1950’s, it had also inadvertently struck a fatal blow to the collaborative friendship that had once seen Liverpool and Manchester climb to the pinnacle of international trade and production.

FIGURE 3: The Manchester Ship Canal, liberated Manchester from its reliance on Liverpool’s Docks.

Its advent was a legacy of tension between the cities, amplifying the underlying feelings of social and political antipathy; and thus a fierce rivalry was born. Despite the Canal’s measured success and brief renaissance of Manchester’s fortunes, the future economic outlook in the industrial North of England looked bleak; the industrial era was at an irreversible end and the consequences would be severe for both cities.

An uncertain period marred by poverty,

unemployment and shrinkage would await the cities as they ushered in the new century.


DEINDUSTRIALIZATION & ECONOMIC UNSTABILITY After centuries of economic domination and success the, cities of Manchester and Liverpool found themselves in a precarious situation. At the dawn of the 20th century the cotton industry was in rapid decline (Loftus and Nevin). Its mills had consumed a fifth of the world’s cotton between 1910 and 1913 (peaking at 65% of the worldss cotton production), but between 1936 and 1938 the proportion of global cotton consumption the mills utilized had declined to less than a tenth (Latham, 2007). The situation was made worse as the Great War severely disrupted international trade, in particular to India, which accounted for 40% of the cities cotton exports. Cotton had acted as the backbone of Northern industry providing the driving force behind its industrial strength. Accelerated by the world economic depression in 1929, the fate of the cotton industry was resolved. Consequently the interwar period would become a time of incredible hardship for the people of Manchester and Liverpool, with nearly 44% of all Liverpudlians living near or under the poverty line. By the end of WWII the cotton trade was effectively dead, though it struggled on until cotton trading at the Royal Cotton exchange was finally discontinued in 1968, marking the end of the city’s role as a textile trading centre (Oswalt, P. Shrinking Cities Volume 1 p.404406). The apparent economic links between the two cities were becoming less significant.

“Deindustrialisation was intense and made Liverpool and Manchester more similar cities, decreasing the potential for economic collaboration based on the complementarily of the past” (Lane, 1987).

The future economic fate of the cities would be dependent on adaptation and diversification of industry.

In this requirement, Manchester was better prepared (partly due to geographical

location) and more willing.

In contrast to Liverpool, which had always relied on its base

industry: the docks to supply its economy; the city of Manchester was far more flexible. Although the city’s main focus had always been on its cotton industry, it had successfully developed sub industries, namely the metal and engineering sectors.

Whilst Liverpool’s workforce had the

typecast of the “Gentleman,” in reality this was far from the truth.

Its workers were

predominantly low-skilled labourers, servicing the docks. In contrast Manchester’s work force was highly skilled and capable of adapting to new industries and the emerging lucrative financial sectors.

Using the Ship Canal to its advantage, the city rapidly expanded these industries,

creating a new economic generator. In addition to production and sale of food and drink, road and rail transport and the clothing industry became increasingly important to the now rejuvenated Manchester (Shrinking cities). The port had become one of the UK’s most important and a number of industrial estates (another world first), such as Trafford Park were utilized to boost the budding economy. As Manchester began to slowly recover, the city of Liverpool remained stagnant. The advent of containerization between 1956 and 1965 meant that the once thriving docks became obsolete (eventually left open to permanently silt-up in 1973). As a result thousands of jobs were lost. British trade shifted from the ports of Liverpool to the Atlantic and European market. Liverpool was left isolated “moored on the wrong side of the country” (Oswalt, P. Shrinking Cities Volume 1).
















Source: Census of Population, 1801-2001.

TABLE 1: Illustrating the ongoing population shrinkage and social upheaval as a result of the economic and industrial collapse.

The City did however receive investment backed by government initiatives aimed at broadening Liverpool’s economic base to compensate for the traditional over-dependence on port related activities.

Between 1960 and 1970 a number of factories (including assembly-plants for car

giants Vauxhall and Ford) were built on the outskirts on the city briefly boosting the cities flagging economy by providing 30,000 jobs. However it was not to last; hundreds of factories closed shut their doors to seek out low-wage labour elsewhere. This catastrophe resulted in the immediate loss of 76,000 jobs; 90% of them in Liverpool (Oswalt, P. Shrinking Cities Volume 1 p.406).

From 1971-96 Liverpool shed over 192,000 jobs, representing a 53% decline in total

employment (Giordano & Twomey, 1999).

FIGURE 4: Abandoned terraced houses on Merseyside; a sign of the population exodus during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

Out of post-industrial gloom a shining light emerged, that would play an important part in Liverpool future regeneration (notably the recent Capital of Culture bid). The “Beat Boom,” saw the formation of hundreds of bands including the Beatles, who would go onto unprecedented success during the “Mersey beat” era, pushing Liverpool into the international spotlight once again. But this only acted to divert attention from the true Liverpool: a failing post industrial “pariah” city that severely lagged behind its true regional rival; Manchester.


POLITICAL PARALYSIS The role of politics would play a large part in the future differing economic trajectories taken by the cities of Liverpool and Manchester. Throughout the 70-90’s the politics of these two cities took two divergent paths that would ultimately determine which city would successfully embrace civic urban entrepreneurialism, paving the way for economic recovery.

Liverpool had the reputation of being a political misfit. Rarely had it been governed by the political party that controlled the national government. Traditionally Labour councils controlled large municipal authorities, whilst central government was occupied by a virulently hostile Tory administration (Quilley, 1999). In this case Liverpool was no exception, now firmly Labour after a period of Liberal control. Deep divisions within the subsequent Labour formed Councils resulted in a struggle to effectively redirect the waning Merseyside region.

In this political climate, “Militant” (a Marxist organisation within the Labour party) fronted by the vocal Liverpudlian Derek Hatton, gained virtual control of the City Council during the mid 80’s; ensuring that collaboration between the Conservative government and Liverpool’s labour council would be near-impossible. Regular confrontations and point-blank refusals to the Thatcher-led Conservative Government would leave the Labour City Council alienated, lacking national funding and support. In this national-political isolation the Militant minded council became politically unstable, ultimately seeing Hatton expelled from the council in 1986 under accusations of racism and insensitivity to minoritarian concerns within the Militant organisation.

Under his leadership the Liverpool City Council failed to deliver a coherent

strategy to generate economic reform. Subsequently it would be impossible for Liverpool to directly match the city-wide “urban entrepreneurialism” led redevelopment, now emerging in rejuvenated post-industrial Manchester. Its regional rival was being rapidly driven forward by the “Urban Left” ideologies of its ambitious and determined Labour council.




exist without constantly


the instruments


production, and thereby the relations of production and with them the whole relations of society [...] Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish this epoch from all previous ones.” Karl Marx, Communist manifesto, 1848

The burning of political bridges on Merseyside was far removed from Manchester, which was consolidating its political position in a bid to reverse its economic fortunes. As with Liverpool the city was predominantly Labour controlled. Since the 1920’s, Manchester’s labour politics had been split along two distinct lines, namely the local authority controlled District Labour party and the fairly autonomous Trade Union Movement (Williams, 2003).

However as economic and

demographic decline dominated, the influence of the Unions diminished.

Following a

reorganisation of local government during the mid 70’s, Labour party gained control in 1984. Although it consisted of a large group of ageing right-wing councillors, the new Urban Left was mobilizing and shortly the “Greater Manchester City Council” would be abolished to eventually reform as a unitary authority in 1986.

The newly elected council was headed by the powerful combination of Graham Stringer and his deputy chief, Howard Bernstein, who only four years earlier had been expelled from office for refusing to accede to £13 Million cuts in local expenditure (Wainwright, 1987). It was this pair would provide the driving force behind Manchester’s forthcoming economic revolution, converting Manchester into a self-styled post industrial city (Robson n.d.).

The newly revitalised council immediately laid out their future agenda. Traditionally the role of local government had been restricted to the delivery of welfare service, the left now sought to expand the remit of municipal intervention to include production (Quilley, 1999).


Merseyside’s Militant regime, Manchester’s new Council was prepared to work in partnership with the Conservative Government. As Quilley (1999) observed, “In essence what happened in Manchester was that the politicians accepted these parameters and determined, on that basis, to get the best possible deal for the city.”

This unconventional approach was welcomed by the Conservative

government and during the 80’s and 90’s the city was shown political approval being named as on the of the three “City Pride” authorities alongside London and Birmingham.


NEW PARTNERSHIPS The council also sought to renew fractured relationships with the city minorities. “We want to bring people in and open up the town hall ask people what they want and involve them in the decision making process. We want to involve all sorts of people who are exploited in society and provide support to those people.” Graham Stringer in the Tribune, July 1985. The new urban left would form a radical alliance with a large range of previously ignored and unrepresented groups. Developing relationships with Women’s groups, ethnic minorities and the Lesbian and Gay communities became a key factor in re-branding the city as multi-ethnic, cosmopolitan city (Quilley, 1999). The council also pursued economic partnerships within the somewhat fractured Greater Manchester region.

Collaborations were established with Salford, Trafford and more

recently Tameside. “It has been Manchester’s success in capitalising on the partnership concept that has set it apart from its rivals in the process of bidding for competitive resource” (Robson n.d.). Stringer would earn repute as being Manchester’s “Janus” figure opening political doors and helping to establish diverse economic links within the region. Quilley (1999) comments “His brand of progressive urbanism emerged, focusing on the rehabilitation and re-imaging on Manchester as a major European city-regional capital.”

Far from rejecting inter-urban

competition the Stringer led council began to enthusiastically participate in it, working in collaboration with the private sector to encourage development within the city centre. Initial redevelopment plans focused on the core projects of, Manchester’s Airport Expansion, Castlefield redevelopment plans, The Metrolink and the unsuccessful Olympic Bid. A brand of progressive urbanism had begun to emerge and Manchester was beginning to see the effects of an overdue economic revival. There was no doubt that Manchester was prepared for the “dog eat dog” reality of globalisation (Quilley, 1999).

REIMAGING A vibrant cultural explosion hit the city, undergoing a musical revival similar to Liverpools1960’s “Beat Boom.” Influential cultural figures such as Tony Wilson and his infamous record label “Factory Records” would generate a fresh awareness of the city; the Hacienda Nightclub playing an iconic role in re-branding the city. Manchester’s fierce ambition to become a post-industrial venue made Manchester an exciting place to be.

“The city has been outstandingly successful in changing its image- both its self perception and the picture if portrays of itself to the outside world. Such images have become a vitally important element in the influencing the economic success of cities in a global economy in which perception play an increasingly important role.” (Robson n.d.)

As private investment flooded into the rejuvenated city centre, Stringer’s self-named “Crane Index” (the number of cranes that dot the cities skyline) exploded.

Far from resting on its

laurels the city began a new phase of urban regeneration. After the Labour Party’s national electoral failure in 1987, Manchester City Council chose increasingly to embrace urban entrepreneurialism, and pragmatically establish more cordial relations with the Conservative government and the local private sector (Latham, 2007). As a result the entrepreneurial strategy endorsed by the council began to gain momentum.


FIGURE 5: The Hacienda Club played an iconic role in rebranding Manchester.

URBAN VISIONS The Council fashioned an “Urban Vision” that set out key criteria that would be key to the city’s redevelopment. The objectives focused on: repopulating the city centre; capitalising on the sporting prowess of the city; creating a consumer base to the city; encouraging the development of a high tech industry base (particularly by utilizing the Universities) and emphasising the role of Manchester airport.

The success of the airport was of particular significance to Manchester. When initial plans for a second runway were revealed in 1991, there was strong opposition from Merseyside. They argued that John Lennon Airport was not at full capacity and that it should accommodate future air traffic increases in North West. This claim was dismissed by the government and Manchester was given permission to expand its airport; an economic kick in the teeth to Liverpool’s commercial prospects resulting in exacerbated regional antagonism. In 2001 the second runway was opened and proved a key factor in establishing Manchester as a regional centre for transportation and commerce; it became commonly knows as “The Heathrow of the North.” Early in the 90’s Manchester showed its sporting ambition by bidding for the Olympic Games in 1996 and 2002. When Sydney was announced as the eventual host for the 2002 event, it was reported that “Merseyside celebrated.” Although a failure, the bid played an important role in promoting the cities international brand and later Manchester’s bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2002 proved successful. The venture helped the city receive a number of government grants allowing for the establishment of a strong sporting infrastructure, notably the “Sportcity” initiative in East Manchester.

After successfully fulfilling his redevelopment challenges, Graham Stringer resigned his leadership in 1996.

He had played a crucial part in rolling-out Manchester’s regeneration

strategy resulting in a city wide transformation. Although under conservative government the entrepreneurial city was a product of his Labour led council and he took a position in the newly elected National Government 1997. In many ways the product of the new urban left in Manchester during the 80’s and early 90’s anticipated Blair’s “New Labour” (Quilley, 1999). And in this new political climate Manchester’s economic transformation was destined to continue.


Stringer had left a legacy of successful redevelopment and this trend would continue after his departure.

“Prestige” projects would play an important part in Manchester’s future

redevelopment strategy and promoting city-centre modernisation. As Ward (2000 cited in Williams 2003) comments “Central to the programmed regeneration of Manchester’s core has been the parallel promotion of prestige projects, both as means of securing physical regeneration of strategic locations and the ensuring the cities high profile place-marketing ambitions.” Developments such as the Imperial War Museum in Salford, The Lowry Art centre. Bridgewater Hall and Urbis, acted as urban landmarks, boosting civic pride and acting as magnets for further initiatives; reenergising Manchester’s public-private partnerships.

FIGURE 6: “Prestige projects” such as, The Imperial War Museum (above left), URBIS (centre) and Bridgewater Hall (above right) helped the city create a cutting edge brand.

AFTER THE BLAST The IRA bomb in 1996, (that damaged some 1200 buildings, but resulted in no casualties) was treated as an economic opportunity that would demonstrate renewed vision and dynamism.

“A recovery plan is now underway to support businesses and people affected as they now rebuild their livelihoods. The city, already noted for its resilience and dynamism, has drawn upon the strengths of its existing partnerships, and, working with Government, has committed itself to ensuring that out of adversity, a stronger, more vibrant city for the 21st century will emerge over the next 2/3 years, to rival anywhere in Europe.” (MCCTF 1996a cited in Holden, 2002)

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE The dramatic turnaround of Manchester’s economic fortunes truly makes it a City of Revolution. Driven by a fierce ambition to become a post industrial venue, the city saw a complete transformation from an industrial based economy to one of high tech, financial and commercial industries.

“As Manchester began to flourish politics on Merseyside held back Liverpool. Manchester’s authorities aggressively driving their city towards regional capital status and consolidating their ascendancy over Liverpool.

In the wake of its successful

redevelopment Manchester has become a model for many other UK cities and the city centre regeneration shows little sign of slowing down” (Quilley, 1999).


After the end of the industrial era Manchester was better positioned, geographically and socially to allow for adaptation to the new global economy.

Strong political leadership ensured that

Manchester, not Liverpool would establish itself as the North West’s regional centre. However Liverpool aided by its strong cultural background is beginning to show signs of an economic recovery.

In 1988, renowned architect James Sterling revealed the redevelopment of Albert Dock the largest single conservation project undertaken in the UK. Backed by EU funding, namely the £800 Million worth of grants through Objective One status in 1993, they successfully secured world heritage status for Maritime Mercantile City in 2004. At the turn of the 21st century Liverpool is now undergoing massive city centre development supported by private investment that has helped emulate Manchester’s “prestige” projects, one such example being “The Museum of Liverpool” which will play a indispensable role in re-imaging the city, during its year as European Capital of Culture.

FIGURE 7: The Museum of Liverpool (under construction) will provide a 21st Century addition to the ageing Waterfront.

Although Manchester fast-tracked, politically funded, economic development has helped put it clearly in the ascendancy; Liverpool’s bid to regain its long lost dominance appears strong, hinting at the elevated aspirations from the cities leaders. With Liverpool One (one of Europe’s largest urban renewal schemes) as its spearhead, the city looks capable of mounting a serious challenge, particularly in the highly competitive retail market. The city irrefutably has an alluring cultural heritage. Combined with continuing modern redevelopment, Liverpool could well find itself in a position to challenge Manchester for the unofficial title of “Regional Capital.”

Yet Liverpool has a reputation for failing to deliver; as the Architectural Review recently described, “Liverpool was mired in nihilistic political infantilism which provided a backdrop for systematic economic and social failure” (Finch, P, 2008). Will Liverpool One prove to be success, or is there a distinct possibility it will become little more than a glorified shopping complex (which given the economic climate might be half-empty or only full at the expense of all the other shopping locations in Liverpool), lacking in cultural significance and value? Whatever the outcome, the coming months will see a shift in the dynamic inter-city relationship generated over many centuries, potentially reigniting regional urban competition in the form of rivalry.


CHAPTER 4 CAPITALISING CULTURE In 2008 Liverpool appears far removed from the socially and economic destitute city that was characterised by unemployment, crime and stagnated development. A tangible buzz of excitement now resounds around the city centre, hinting at a new found optimism: a belief that the city is changing for the better. The once predominantly Georgian architecture now finds itself encircled by the glass, steel and concrete structures that signify a new 21s century Urban identity. Even Graham Stringer would surely acknowledge that Liverpool’s “crane count” currently matches or even exceeds that of Manchester’s dynamic skyline. This dramatic change in the urban landscape has been propelled by the cities European Capital of Culture win, which preceded the city’s 800th anniversary in 2007. This accolade has acted as a catalyst for development and investment within the city’s core that we can observe today.

FIGURE 8: The silhouette of cranes dominate Liverpool’s current skyline.

While the Liverpool One is unquestionably the physical heart of Liverpool’s current redevelopment boom, the 2008 ECOC title has lent itself to underpinning a new re-branding and reimaging campaign.

It is impossible to navigate the city core or even the periphery quarters

without coming across a billboard emblazoned with the “Liverpool 08” logo brashly proclaiming the cities Capital of Culture status. Although this award appears to add credibility and magnitude to the ongoing city-wide redevelopments, its overall success is contentious.

The accolade was

unexpectedly awarded in June 2003 and was immediately heralded as a sure way to establish the city as an international attraction and ultimately a destination with a world-beating reputation (Liverpool 08, n.d.).

"Liverpool will become a cultural beacon of the world. Capital of Culture is a wonderful accolade. It is fabulous. You are a wonderful city. I am so glad you won." Tessa Jowell, Culture Secretary, June 2003

Sceptics could question the value of the award. A quick glance at the recent winners of the EU granted title presents remarkably unimpressive list; indeed this year Liverpool is sharing its title with the Norwegian cities of Stavanger and Sandnes; hardly internationally renowned


destinations. But the award has proved its value in recent history, notably in 1990, in Glasgow, the last UK city to be present with the title. In the aftermath the city received substantial economic and social benefits, allowing for regeneration and the strengthening of the city’s urban image, now named the “Glasgow Effect.” For example the creation of buildings such as the Scottish Exhibition centre, gave a legacy not only of iconic design, but a revenue stream for the future. While the 1990 award cannot solely be responsible for Glasgow’s recent urban renaissance, it was utilized wisely, providing a solid base and trigger for urban renewal. In the case of Liverpool it is debatable if the city has fully capitalized on its Capital of Culture status. Undeniably the biggest shortfall of Liverpool’s 08 bid was its failure to deliver the now mythical “Fourth Grace.”

FIGURE 9: Will Alsops,”Cloud” the winning, but never realised proposal for the Fourth Grace site.

The project, which was intended to fill a void next to the city’s 3 signature buildings dubbed the “Three Graces” (the Port of Liverpool Building, Cunard Building and Royal Liver Building), aimed to create a “cultural hub,” which would act as a modern-day symbol for the city.

The design

competition was undertaken by Richard Rogers, Sir Norman Foster, Edward Cullinan and Will Alsop, with the aim of producing a piece of iconic architecture, that would place Liverpool firmly back on the international map; achieving the desirable “Guggenheim effect.” The Fourth Grace concept played a vital role in selling Liverpool’s bid to the European Union securing and securing Capital of Culture status.

But barely a year after the city’s successful bid in 2003, Will Alsop’s

eventual winning proposal “The Cloud” found itself on the scrapheap.

The prospect of a lengthy public enquiry and spiralling costs from £228 Million to £324 Million (BBC News, 2004) deemed the project “no longer viable.” Sir Joe Dwyer of Liverpool Vision would later comment, “I am disappointed that we are not able to take the scheme any further. I firmly believe that we were right to consider a highly ambitious building which would have added a new dimension to our outstanding waterfront.” (BBC News, 2004). The fourth grace fiasco has meant the city has failed to produce a permanent legacy to mark its ECOC Status. The result is a city brand that until recently seemed to place the spotlight on its past glories (e.g. Beatle Nostalgia) rather than showcasing the cities modern cultural scene and forward thinking mentality. The 2008 agenda appears to resemble more of a festival, focusing on trivial fleeting events, such as


performing arts shows and music concerts. While these activities provide short term testament and authentication to the cities cultural status, they will not offer a historical footprint that a permanent landmark would have ensured. Consequently it is unclear how Liverpool’s ECOC status will be remembered, if at all by future generations. Nevertheless, even with its notable failings, it has helped to lay the foundations to a more economically strong Liverpool. It is forecasted by Liverpool Vision that the ECOC award would result in 12,000 new jobs, double annual visitor numbers to 38 million and generate £2 billion of additional spending in the local economy as a result (Jones & Wilks-Heeg, 2004, p.2).

Prior to the Capital of Culture win in 2003 an independent company named “Liverpool Vision” was created in partnership with Liverpool City Council, the Northwest development agency and English partnerships.

The company’s objective was to “bring together key public and private sector

agencies to deliver regeneration of Liverpool’s city centre” (Liverpool Vision). In this role Liverpool Vision has had notable successes, helping to rejuvenate the city core, in particular the Ropewalks area, which was redeveloped between 2001 and 2004 has become the cities creative and night time district; perhaps evidence that when organised Liverpool can deliver its regeneration targets. Redevelopment such as the £10 Million FACT (Foundation of Art & Creative Technology) centre, opened in 2003 has helped to enhance the cities contemporary cultural image, complimenting the city’s more traditional cultural centres such as Tate Liverpool, Walker Gallery and Bluecoat Chambers (the city’s oldest building).

With the completion of Liverpool One just round the corner, are these cultural elements sufficient to sustain the city? Plug-in elements such as FACT have proved to be very successful indicating that there is sufficient demand within the city to provide them with a consistent revenue stream.

These successes have seen further investment into developing Liverpool’s

cultural industries and as a by-product its creative industries. A new extension to Bluecoat Chambers is shortly due to be completed and new developments such as the Museum of Liverpool look to enrich the city centre’s cultural merits. There are very strong parallels between Liverpool’s ongoing cultural rebirth and Manchester’s prestige projects of the 90’s. In fact it wouldn’t be hard to argue that Liverpool has emulated and even surpassed Manchester in terms of cultural significance. Its rich, sometimes turbulent history has left it with an abundance of cultural monuments, such as Albert Dock, two Liverpool Cathedrals, and a vast number of listed buildings (the most of any UK city outside of London). These cultural qualities are been being complimented by a palpable aspiration to become the cultural hub of the North West.

However it is Manchester’s commercial and retail prowess that has set it aside as England’s second city. Perhaps Liverpool should continue to focus on its cultural heritage developments so it can play a complimentary and mutually beneficial role to the city of Manchester? Culture appears to be Liverpool’s forte, giving it a unique selling point (particularly while wrapped in the shroud of its ECOC win); but competition, undoubtedly stimulated by rivalry and the politics of “catchup” has encouraged the city to reignite an economic and commercial conflict with its old foe. Liverpool One represents the cities first real cohesive attempt to take a stab at Manchester’s modern-day economic supremacy. It is a clear sign of the city leader’s lofty ambitions, but the timing, delivery and need for Liverpool One are decidedly uncertain.


PARIAH TO PARADISE? "This is the most exciting regeneration development currently taking place in the country.

It will transform the city centre and is key to Liverpool's remarkable

renaissance" Sir Joe Dwyer, Chairman Liverpool Vision

The overwhelming message from Liverpool’s Leaders is clear: Liverpool One (also optimistically known as the “Paradise project”) will be a success. “The Paradise Project is helping transform the heart of Liverpool which will make it one of the premier retail and leisure destinations not only in the UK but in Europe” Warren Bradley, Liverpool City Council (Liverpool PDSA, n.d.). Where does this unwavering confidence originate from?

To investigate the roots of Liverpool One I

interviewed Building Design Partnerships (BDP), Project Architect, Jamie Scott, who has played a principal role in the creation of the L1 master plan and also the successful Ropewalks redevelopment.

“Liverpool City Council were seeking a development partner at the end of the 90’s following advice that they needed to expand Liverpool’s retail offer to compete. LCC undertook a commission, to take on advisors to review the state of the city at a strategic level. That guidance showed that unless Liverpool city increased its retail capacity by at least 1 Million square foot, it wouldn’t be able to compete with places like Manchester, the Trafford Centre and Cheshire Oaks (Chester’s major out of town retail site).” J, Scott, BDP

Over the past 20 years, compared to other cities Liverpool, has suffered from a lack of investment, particularly in the commercial/retail sector. Liverpool One does appear justified in-terms of fulfilling the cities obvious retail potential. Liverpool One is merely filling an existing void (a shortfall of retail space), allowing the city to play catch-up at a regional level to competitors such as Manchester and the Trafford Centre.

But will it help benefit the

majority of Liverpool’s populace? City-wide problems still remain, and become more visible as you venture away from the city centre. In the cities outskirts, such as the districts of Toxteth, Kensington, Edgehill and Anfield, the problems of abandonment and poverty are still widely visible (although the council has done its best to cover-up and “smokescreen” these areas, particularly along the main routes into the city centre, most notably Edgehill) a sign of the population exodus during the 1960-80’s.

Residents of these poorer, undeveloped areas could question the logic of placing a shiny new shopping mall at the heart of the city that seems to cater more to the WAG/Boutique culture of the middle classes, then that of the bona fide Liverpudlians. As recently as 2004 the city was ranked number one in “The most deprived local authorities in England” (Deprivation diciest, 2004, National statistics website).

This frightening reality is in stark contrast to the image

presented by the Capital of Culture and Liverpool One promotion campaigns. However it appears that the common belief and city-wide strategy pushed by the cities Leaders, is that commercial investment in the city centre will eventually spill out to the surrounding districts, ultimately reducing poverty. While this is potentially true, in reality it may take many years before the wider Merseyside region is improved as a result of inner city investment. Yet the creation of


thousands of jobs within the retail sector will be instantaneous, providing employment for many of Liverpool poorer residents.

Clearly there is no single, decisive solution to Liverpool’s

wider problems but Liverpool One will play an influential role in the city’s growth. Liverpool City council has taken a huge gamble with Liverpool One and its opening will undoubtedly be a crossroads in the urban development of the city.

Although it has been funded by private

investment, it was the Council who initiated the scheme when they sought strategic advice in the 90’s.

Additionally the backing of Liverpool One has been at the expense of other schemes that

have failed to materialise, such as The Canal Link, The Liner Terminal, Lime Street Gateway and Mann Island; ultimately the Council authorities will be held responsible if Liverpool One fails in terms of ineffectively stimulating developing in surrounding areas, but it may be the people of Liverpool peripheries that suffer economically. As always the city’s leaders are adamant that Liverpool One will fulfil its objective

“With £3 billion of investment committed, the regeneration of Liverpool city centre is well underway and the effects of economic revival are now everywhere to see.” Liverpool Vision, 08

“A big developer prepared to invest almost £1 billion is a commitment and show of faith in Liverpool.” Jamie Scott, Building Design Partnership

Liverpool City Council selected the combination of the Grosvenor Group (who would provide financial backing and also containing the major landowner, The Duke of Westminster in its ranks) and Building Design Partnership (BDP) to undertake the £900million project. The master plan aims to deliver two million square feet of new leisure and retail space created, a heady mix of cultural, commercial, residential and leisure buildings at various scales (Finch, 2008) with 30 new buildings that will create a new commercial core.

“Its location is a part of Liverpool, that always by right should have been the heart of the city, but because of political mismanagement it was never properly developed.” (Scott, J, BDP) The physical form of Liverpool One will be integral to its success. It is a highly ambitious scheme (Europe’s biggest city centre development) that will dramatically alter the urban fabric of the city centre. The sheer scope of this largely retail focused development; means that there are no existing precedents that demonstrate successful retail integration at this scale. “The urban advisors to Liverpool city council were very eager to make it a permeable and integrated scheme that knitted into the fabric of the city” (Scott, J, BDP). The proposed master plan is a clear step away from the mall philosophy that has dominated inner city shopping centres in the past and promises a “more urban” experience.



FIGURE 10: The vast scale of Liverpool One will dramatically change Liverpool’s retail core.

The project has been made even more complicated by the fact that Liverpool is a city with many historical factors to consider. “Architecturally, the challenges ranged from the large quantity of historic buildings, conservation site and world heritage site on the waterfront, complex issues to do with change in levels, which would help the scheme architecturally, but are also quite complicated and technically difficult to resolve” (Scott, J, BDP). A significant factor in the success of the scheme will be its ability to connect to the historic waterfront. “A systematic lack of inward investment had left it declining, decaying and disconnected from its famous waterfront” (Architectural Review, 2008, p.65). The waterfront currently feels isolated from the city centre, mainly due to Strand Street, a four lane road that acts as a physical barrier to pedestrian traffic from the main city centre. Although the scheme does not tackle this issue directly, with an architectural intervention, that bypasses the barrier, the design team focused on the creation of routes through the development to encourage pedestrian flow, as Scott states, “one of the key drivers in the project was the idea of sight lines.” These sight lines aim to frame key views, so that the visitor is well aware of what is outside the site and unusually (for retail area) encouraged to leave the development. “The quality of the scheme is very high, creating some interesting new public spaces,” J, Scott, BDP. A small urban park, will act as Liverpool Ones hub, a public space where visitors can congregate and gain access to the Albert Dock and extended waterfront.

The true success of Liverpool One, as an inner-city retail development will become clearer in the upcoming months. From a purely retail perspective, Liverpool One appears capable of filling a gap in the market. The architectural formula used in its design is untested, but it will be unique from any other urban shopping destination in the country, and that in its self will make it a huge attraction.

It will face stiff competition from the likes of Manchester city centre and the

Trafford centre.

Many years of political mismanagement has seen the cities retail sector

neglected, lacking any significant retail development. This has created a gap in Liverpool urban fabric, and Liverpool One is set to fill this void. It will offer a central retail attraction on the doorstep of the greater Merseyside region. Because of its location and expansive catchment


area (6.75 million people live within a 60 minute drive from Liverpool city centre, Northwest Development Agency NWDA) area, it will be a convenient destination for shoppers in the region, and competitors such as the Trafford Centre may see a decline in visitors.

Critics will point out that the Project is lacking in cultural (and perhaps architectural) value, but in reality, cultural and commercial developments go hand in hand: each requires growth of the other. In this instance, Liverpool has already established its cultural merits, through its historic buildings and ECOC status and is now developing its commercial qualities. A suitable balance between commercial and cultural balance seems to have been achieved after years of failure. Or perhaps at this stage it is better to say that a good start has been made; only time will tell whether this Project will succeed. Will Liverpool One detract from the cities cultural heritage? No. Although it may become known as a shopping destination, Liverpool’s culture will always be its signature feature. After all, who remembers Manchester by the name “Arndale?”

Liverpool One’s retail offering appears relatively strong and the scheme also provides a large amount of commercial office space.

The potential for success in this area is far more

questionable. Manchester has proved itself to be market leader in the provision of office space. Manchester’s central location and proximity to an internationally renowned airport is its key advantage. In terms of supply and demand, the Liverpool master plan seems optimistic. According to commercial agents DTZ, office space in Manchester typically rents for £28.50 per square foot per annum compared with about £21 in Liverpool. Manchester's 19 million square foot of office space compares with Liverpool's 3-4 million. (BBC News, 2007). This demonstrates that there is a lack of demand for commercial office space in the centre of Liverpool, not least because most commercial undertakings, Accountants, Lawyers, Advertising agencies will base their regional centres in Manchester and, at best, maintain a small satellite office in Liverpool. Liverpool faces stiff competition, not only from Manchester, but Warrington that provides work to much of Liverpool’s population. One of he key factors in Liverpool regeneration will be its ability, to keep workers within the city boundary, to increase population density.

While Liverpool One will offer plenty of new jobs, these jobs will be mainly unskilled and lowpaid. If Liverpool wants to match Manchester’s Entrepreneurialism and commerce, Liverpool One alone, will not be the solution. The scheme may struggle to find tenants; particularly with longterm plans to greatly expand the city’s Office based economy away from the city centre. An immediate economic shift to higher-paid, high skilled jobs looks unlikely. It is this sector that Liverpool needs to develop if it wishes to match Manchester, which has an ever growing inner-city population made up of young, rich business types, who supply investment into the cities core. Projects such as the planned “Liverpool Waters,” a vast £5.5billion commercial, office based project funded by Peel Holdings may also pose a long-term a threat to city centre development, as they are not centrally located.

However they will also be hugely prestigious, promoting the

Liverpool brand.

Pariah to paradise? Not yet! Liverpool is a city in a transition, but it is still far from a renaissance city. It remains marred by poverty when we take into consideration the wider urban context. Redevelopment of these areas will be a long-term process, which is only just beginning.


A Successful Liverpool One is a necessary condition for Liverpool’s future success, but in itself it may not be sufficient to reverse years of industrial-economic decline.

As a development,

Liverpool One has all the attributes to significantly boost the city’s productivity, allowing it to compete with Manchester on a purely retail level. Its achievements may be hampered by the potential economic “credit crunch,” but the infrastructure will be in place when the economy recovers; if hypothetically the project was set to be completed towards 2010 and scenario may have been different, potentially disrupting its completion (or even prohibiting its existence) and demand for retail space.

Commercially the city is still lacking and remains in Manchester’s

shadow. However Liverpool One will act as an economic catalyst that will see much investment into the city centre and this will be strengthened by Liverpool capital of award in 2008. The long-term effects of this award remain questionable, but it has acted as a great advert for the city, rejuvenating Liverpool’s international perception and bringing in many visitors contributing an immediate short-term boost to tourist spending.

Competent and efficient political management (previously so often lacking on Merseyside) will be required to ensure investment is channelled into the right areas, both geographically and economically. Liverpool’s cultural and historical qualities, envied all over the world, will go a long way to ensuring the city has a bright future. Provided the city does not again suffer the same political mismanagement of the 1960-1990’s the city should be able to maintain a strong economic standing that will ensure its future development and path towards becoming a renaissance city. Strong leadership will also allow the city to adapt to changing economic climates, and development can be controlled and gradually integrated into the city’s urban fabric, allowing for a far more controlled redevelopment strategy than the one witnessed in Manchester.


suggests, the development of Liverpool will continue to have a great influence of the growth of Manchester and vice-versa, and this economic intercity relationship will continue to be influenced by an ever evolving social rivalry.


CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION RIVALRY My historical research has demonstrated the perpetually evolving relationship between the cities of Liverpool and Manchester.

This relationship has been born from the intercity, social and

economic arrangement that has developed over the past 300 years. The modern day faces of these cities continue to transform in the light of more recent developments, such as Liverpool One. Combined with ongoing changes in the political and economic landscape, the relationship, characterized by competition is still very apparent. This modern evolution is typical of the historical pattern that has seen both cities simultaneously rise to prominence, then concurrently collapse due to the process of deindustrialization. Although Manchester’s recovery has been far more rapid, both cities continue to be highly influential in the development of each other.

Despite Liverpool and Manchester similarities, the relationship between the two is


This symbiotic, almost “twin” like relationship has been fuelled by urban competition that can also be described as rivalry; but how can rivalry be defined and what role does it play? My belief is that an underlying social rivalry (that can often be best seen on the football pitch), stimulated from centuries-long regional antagonism and cultural differences, is highly influential in the political and economic choices made by each city; the classic example being the Manchester Ship Canal. This economic intervention, fed by capitalist ambitions, aimed at ending Liverpool’s trade monopoly, fashioned a fractured inter-city relationship that went on to stimulate even more social aggravation and disparity in the post-industrial era. In essence, rivalry is an unremitting circle that can escalate over time. As it grows, political tensions increase, often leading to conflicts and the emergence of further cultural divides.

FIGURE 11: This diagram illustrates the process of the continuing rivalry between Manchester and Liverpool.


While the exiting social rivalry is plain to see, the economic rivalry is perhaps more subtle and rarely admitted in political leadership circles. But, although urban competition/rivalry has a metaphysical existence (it is within human nature to compete), it remains fundamental in the way each city has and continues to develop its urban identity.

ATTEMPTS AT FORGING A NEW INTERCITY RELATIONSHIP Yet the influence of rivalry has been acknowledged in recent years, so much so that Liverpool and Manchester actively pursued (perhaps for differing reasons) a new inter-city collaborative agreement that would minimise direct economic competition and make large strides towards political reconciliation. As a consequence the devised agreement between the two metropolitan areas was signed in September 2001.

The “concordat” entitled “Liverpool-Manchester Vision”

(overseen in partnership between the Northwest Development Agency (NWDA), European Commission, Liverpool City Council and Manchester City Council),followed a study by the Northwest Development Agency, which showed that Manchester role as the regional could dovetail with Liverpool’s distinctive economic and cultural strengths (BBC News, 2001).

It has hoped the

agreement would provide the foundation for a new intercity partnership and foster the growth of joint working between the cities (Latham, 2007).

"It is ridiculous for our two cities - just 30 miles apart - to be competing for Government and European grants, tourist development, inward investment or even a media profile. We have complementary assets and a shared interest in working together to help bring success for our cities - and for the North West as a whole. Together we can also help our region become a strong counterweight to the power and influence of the South East." Mike Storey, Liverpool council leader (BBC News, 2001)

"Manchester and Liverpool can use each others' distinctive strengths and complement each other to improve life for everyone in the North West.

We must build on the unique and

complementary attributes of Manchester and Liverpool to make the North West region an attractive place for people to live and for companies to invest."

Richard Leese,

Manchester council leader (BBC News, 2001)

“From now on, our rivalries are strictly for the football field.”(Liverpool City Council Leader Mike Storey (North West Development Agency, 2003)

The Liverpool-Manchester Vision strategy was intended to encourage the growth of urban collaboration. Initially the scheme was promising; focusing on 6 Demonstration projects that would symbolise a new found regional cooperation. For example, the “Creative Passport” project aimed to build on existing collaboration in the creative sector by promoting “collaborative” events, such as the previous joint film exhibition showed at the Cannes film festival in 1999 (Latham, 2007). However following the agreement in 2001, co-operation seemed to become almost invisible, quietly ignored and under-nurtured by the two city councils. Questions were raised about the reasoning for the agreement. Manchester had already established an economic edge over Liverpool, indeed it had aggressively participated in urban competition to ensure the city


received its unofficial regional capital status. In the current economic climate, there appeared no real motive for Manchester to work together with its age-old rival.

It was alleged that

Manchester was merely partaking in Vision to appease national and European Government policy, in truth a political masquerade.

“Many members of the Mancunian political elite favoured limited participation in the initiative, believing that the regional capital should make conciliatory statements to avoid antagonising the rest of the North West, but should still press national policymakers to accept that what is best for the regional capital is best for the region as a whole” (Latham, 2007)

The “collapse” of Liverpool-Manchester Vision (although it was never officially acknowledged) brought an end to the brief intercity collaborative effort, exposing the practical limits of the scheme. The cities had failed in their attempt to work together, a modern day example of how rivalry continues to effect political (and as a result economic) developments.

The cities

sidelined Vision and returned their focus back to their individual city projects; in the case of Liverpool, the Paradise Project. As Latham (2007) describes, “The focus of local and regional political elites shifted towards concentration on pursuing competitiveness at the scale of the individual city region.” This result severely questioned the value of the NWDA, which had been the main backer and initiator of Vision. Fragmented relations continued to drag on; in 2003 the now undeniably confused “friendship” reached a new cultural low, with the issue of a “Valentines message” from Manchester to Liverpool.

The card read, “Capital culture, and maximum bliss,

you're a city that's jumping, so give us a kiss.” (North West Development Agency, 2003) and was fittingly delivered by some of the regions Soap Stars, giving the impression that urban collaboration had descended into nothing more than a meaningless, over-sentimental hype.

THE NORTHERN WAY “The English Core Cities − Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield − have begun an economic renaissance in recent years. Nevertheless, there remain concerns that they are not punching their weight economically in their national context; are falling behind London; lack the right powers and resources to improve their performance; and do not make as great a contribution to the national economic welfare, as comparable cities in continental Europe.” (Parkinson et al., 2004: 5).

“All British regional cities suffer from London’s overbearing monopoly subsided by its role as national capital, of executive functions.” (Hatton, 2008 p.22)

In the backdrop of overall failures, such as Liverpool-Manchester Vision, it seems apparent that the North West region is still lacking in competitiveness, when compared to London and European Rivals. The fractured regional relationships, such as the Liverpool-Manchester case has meant that cities have worked against each other, resulting in a severe lack of economic synergy in the


North of England. The 20 year “Northern Way” Strategy, initiated in 2004, is designed to enhance the North’s of England’s economy, with aims of closing the output gap between North and South.

“The Northern Way is a unique initiative, bringing together the cities and regions of the North of England to work together to improve the sustainable economic development of the North towards the level of more prosperous regions. Formed as a partnership between the three northern Regional Development Agencies (Yorkshire Forward, Northwest Regional Development Agency and One NorthEast). We aim to influence policy and delivery at a local, city












collaboration.” The Northern Way, Homepage Statement

The strategy focuses on the concept of “City Regions,” which are based on the economic footprint of core cities (which contain the majority of the North’s Economic assets).

These include

Manchester, Liverpool, Central Lancashire, Sheffield, Leeds, Hull and Humber Ports, Tees Valley and Tyne and Wear. “Through skilled analysis of the data and evidence around these economic flows as part of the City Region Development Process, the northern City Region will be able to collaborate more effectively and deliver more strategically to capture the benefits of private and public sector investment. It will also contribute to the economic transformation of the City Region and the North as a whole.” (The Northern Way) In essence, the Northern Way treats each city region individually identifying unique ways to maximize their potential, but enforces an economic framework that will develop the North’s economy as a whole (with the interconnection of markets for jobs, housing and the supply of goods or services) by allowing for indirect collaboration. It is perhaps under these, or similar conditions, that the cities of Liverpool and Manchester can thrive together.

FINAL CONCLUSION Although a relatively fledgling initiative, that is somewhat unproven, the Northern Way strategy seems to have many ingredients that will help stimulate the economic growth of Northern Region, through co-operation. Conversely it has the possibility of following the now defunct “Vision” initiative on a wider stage. Its ambitious scale, which encompasses the majority of the North of England, is flexible in that it allows City Regions to excel individually.

In the case of

Liverpool and Manchester, my study has demonstrated that these two cities seem incapable and unwilling to collaborate as a result of a rivalry, manifested through history that continues to produce economic and social hostility.

The Liverpool Manchester Vision, strategy, was

undertaken with promising intentions; however its ultimate failure, confirmed that in reality there is a social unwillingness and political parochialism that breeds economic competition; the modern day relationship between the cities was simply too stretched to be reconciled and dead in the water. Any prospect of embracing direct urban collaboration was wiped out on the day Manchester’s entrepreneurial ambition encouraged it to seek independence from Liverpool; the Manchester Ship Canal proving to be a definitive end to a once prosperous, mutually beneficial relationship.


If cities cannot work together efficiently, then alternative strategies must be sought. Although rivalry has proved counter-productive in the formation of urban cooperation, it is a significant facet of modern day society, which preserves our cultural identity, equally as much as the Beatles and historic remnants of the industrial era.

In social terms, rivalry is a positive

characteristic of the Scouse/Manc psychology; it is an “unfriendly”, but often enjoyable relationship that culture thrives in. In a sense, rivalry represents the turbulent history of these age old industrial pioneers and of course history should be preserved, not eradicated for economic gain. If the effects of rivalry cannot be eliminated, it should be forced to exist within a controlling framework.

In the “dog-eat-dog” world of globalization, cities must compete. Yet they must also collaborate indirectly for the wider benefit of their local region. It is my belief that Regional Governments should be expanded and empowered, so that they can oversee regional development, but also permit individualism and competitive ambition between cities. This will allow for development at a city level that will contribute towards a greater regional synergy.

Arguably this strategic approach would be far more beneficial to Manchester, because its cutting edge entrepreneurialism has led to a clear economic edge over its rival. However my investigation has shown that Liverpool has its own unique cultural strengths, which, over the years, have been somewhat held-back by its own political negligence. With precise political leadership, under the advice of a Regional Government, the city is certainly capable of excelling on its own virtues, independent of Manchester. The city is rich in culture, which stems from its dramatic history and furthermore it has an established international brand that can be exploited for the benefit of the city and also utilized in regional promotion. It may not be able to compete for the status of Regional Capital (an aim that always seemed unlikely), but is this really a bad thing? Even with its iconic “prestige projects” Manchester’s city centre has become overrun, by a lacklustre architecture, arbitrarily rolled out to accommodate for rapid economic growth. Liverpool has the opportunity to learn from Manchester’s mistakes helping it achieve a greater balance between cultural and economic growth, over a controlled time frame.

The Northwest Development Agency could be utilized to ensure this indirect regional collaboration. Currently it is only suitable in name, but with strong leadership and National Government backing it could be adapted to the role of overseeing a new competitive, but collaborative framework. The Northern Way agreement, in its present state is over scaled and for Manchester and Liverpool to excel it must be reduced to the North West Region only; perhaps focusing on the part of the M62 corridor, which connects, Liverpool, Warrington and Manchester. This will allow for greater regional control and the swift development of a strong North West brand. If Liverpool and Manchester are left to their own devices, developing at their own pace (under the advice of regional strategists), we could well see (over time) the natural formation of a complimentary offering, with each city developing its own unique selling point or niche. Potentially, Liverpool would develop into the regions cultural hub, focusing on tourism (complimented by its European Capital of Culture status) and Manchester could continue to thrive in its role as Regional Capital (also complimented by Warrington’s new found Commercial entrepreneurialism) and commercial powerhouse; an urban “critical mass” should be sought after.


This individualism, would contribute towards creating a far more dynamic North West Region, with Liverpool and Manchester offering very different personas, avoiding a scenario where both cities compete against each other in the same industries.

This newly-forged, unconventional

relationship would help the North-West compete on wider horizons, against the likes of London (bridging of a £30billion output gap) and Mainland Europe.

While this strategy endorses the

concept of regionalism, it allows the involved cities to develop individuality, helping to preserve their own unique brands.

However the wider urban landscape is always changing and regional strategies must be adaptable to future developments. For example, a technological study is currently underway to assess the potential for a high-speed Maglev link between the city centres of Manchester and Liverpool. Potentially, journey times could be cut to as little as 10 minutes. If this became reality, the urban dynamic of the North West Region would change dramatically. One danger is that regionalism with be taken to extreme levels, with the prospect of Liverpool, Warrington and Manchester merging into one “sausage shaped” urban metropolis. In terms of each city preserving its urban identity this could be cataclysmic, as each city requires its own space (territory) to safeguard its individuality. Will Alsop’s widely-read “SuperCity,” which highlights the consequences of conurbation could become an alarming reality.

I truly believe the North West, is blessed have two cities of Manchester and Liverpool’s illustrious standing. Their close proximity has seen the development of a unique inter-city relationship that cannot be matched anywhere in the world. This relationship, characterized by rivalry, has enriched Northern Culture, to an extent that it has become an asset, which continues to play an important role in future urban development. It could be said that it is the tension between them that breeds success. For my part, I anticipate the cities of Liverpool and Manchester will remain fierce rivals. Simply for the reason that rivalry, formed from our very own urban history can never truly be displaced; in truth this actuality would suit me, as living within an enduring urban rivalry makes life just that little bit more exciting.


APPENDICES Original dissertation proposal submitted November 2007 NOTE: the direction and scope of this analysis has changed over the course of this work. The following may be of interest to the reader, but does not reflect the final outcome of this dissertation. This does not contribute towards the final word count.

Dissertation Title: Rival Cities: Last Chance Liverpool

Research Question:

Can Liverpool's new Paradise Project be the catalyst for its dominance of the North West?

The aim of my dissertation will be to explore the relationship, past and present between Liverpool and Manchester, and investigate the rivalry that has developed as each city fights to establish itself as the cultural and economic leader in the North of England. My main investigation will try to determine the future success of Liverpool's latest regeneration plans, more commonly known as “Liverpool One.” This redevelopment of the Liverpool's city centre, in combination with the prestige of “the 2008 Capital of Culture” award appears to be an attempt to emulate the recent success of Manchester's own urban regeneration schemes. Whilst previous developments in Liverpool have been relatively unsuccessful, such as the infamous “Fourth Grace” project, this new development appears to be Liverpool's last chance to establish itself as the dominant city in the North of England.

Initially I intend to briefly investigate the events, successes and failures of the last 90 years that have led to this scenario. Building a historical chronology of both cities; Starting with the industrial revolution and it catalytic effect of the growth of both cities I will chart the urban development that ensued and the consequences of the post-industrial era beginning after 1920. The industrial decline of Manchester's textile industry and Liverpool trade and export, has seen both cities shrink. Over the past 80 years populations in each city have steadily declined and large percentages of the population have lived in or near to poverty. Both cities have attempted, with differing successes to rectify this problem.

In recent years it is clear that Manchester has economically overtaken Liverpool. Manchester's redevelopment, partly kick started by the IRA bomb (1996), has seen an overhaul of the city centre layout and stimulated commercial success. Iconic architecture, such as Urbis, The Lowry, Bridgewater Hall and The Imperial War museum, has helped Manchester rebrand itself as the regional capital of the North. These interventions have helped Manchester compete internationally and launch successful bids for the Common Wealth games and more recently become the New home of the BBC in the upcoming Media City, Salford. In contrast Liverpool's redevelopment has been far slower. Whilst it has iconic architecture in the form of the 3 Grace's, new developments have been sparse. The upcoming Paradise Project, branding as “Liverpool One” represents Liverpool's most serious attempt yet, to compete with Manchester. It is in a strong position. With its World Heritage status and upcoming title as “Capital of Culture,” it


redevelopment provides a very real threat to Manchester. Can the region accommodate two major economic and commercial centres, and if so what will the consequences be? Does the Paradise Project have sufficient commercial demand to make it successful? Does it represent money well spent? If it fails, then what next for Liverpool? Perhaps Liverpool Perhaps Liverpool will have to develop its strong sense of culture and history into a niche, where it doesn't directly compete with Manchester? There will be many avenues for me to explore and I hope to develop some interesting arguments and theories as I progress.

With the ongoing, developments in Manchester and the imminent completion of Liverpool One, I feel I am ideally placed to witness the developments as they unfold. I will be able to take advantage of my Studio Unit, which will look closely at Liverpool and its position within the context of “Shrinking Cities.”

The relationship between these two cities has been intricately linked since they both became established. The fact that I am a resident of Manchester increases the relevance of this topic as I have a vested interest in what the future may hold. Additionally I believe this topic provides me with a subject that is culturally relevant to the capitalist society we live in today. Combining my historical research, with my analysis of the recent urban development of each city, I will be able to produce legitimate predictions for what the future might hold and what the consequences will be for both urban centres.

The scope and Limitations of my Work will become more apparent as my dissertation progresses. Initially the main aim will be providing enough factual evidence to backup my eventual conclusions regarding the success of Liverpool One. My final conclusion will be a culmination of my research and analysis. It will be based upon the opinions I have formed, but the reality may be different and will only be revealed over the forthcoming years. In terms of research, individuals that I target for interviews etc may not be readily available. Therefore I will have to ensure that my argument and conclusions do not depend on one single source of information. I will also need to evaluate whether the source is biased or not. There is for example a vast amount of info on the Liverpool City Council website. However it is unquestionable that this information has been positively skewed, to help stimulate investment in the Liverpool area.

SOURCES OF INFORMATION There will be two main approaches to my research. The first and most basic will be my observations of the ongoing works that incorporate Liverpool One. This site analysis will involve site visits, photographic studies, mapping studies and historical research. The second will possibly involve the use of questionnaires and interviews aimed at Focus groups, locals and involved individuals, such s architects, developer’s councillors etc. My secondary research will include books, printed articles, TV shows (such as the BBC's recent documentary on the Fourth Grace Project), historical archives, existing data sheets, photographs and site visits. More specifically I will look to obtain Policy documents, Council Leaflets and closely examine the Local Studies Collection (Library).


I will also look at a wide range case studies from cities across the world (such as Bilbao), that involve similar urban regeneration programmes. This will allow me to compare successes and failures of these projects to Liverpool. This will provide me with some historical backing as to whether The Paradise Project will be successful.

REFERENCES I have already begun to explore numerous books, relating to the subject in question. In particular the “Shrinking Cities� series directed to by the college of Landscape and Urbanism has provided me with an initial basis for my research. Volumes 1 and 2 highlight Manchester and Liverpool as case studies, and will provide me (combined with historical literature) with the basic historical context for both cities. . Volume 2 of the Shrinking cities series explores the nature of the intervention as a devices to accommodate the problem of shrinkage, such as the use of iconic architecture. This book will provide me with an international list of case studies that I can use to analyse and compare the potentially success of Liverpool's redevelopment plans. My recent search for books relating to the topic has shown that there are very few published books that cover the subject. However this topic has become a media hot-spot and there are many mass media articles that relate to the redevelopment of Liverpool. Over the course of my dissertation I will gradually construct my Bibliography, which will accurately document all the sources I have used within my work.

I intend to begin my non-literature related research as soon as possible. I have also drawn up a timetable specifically for my dissertation that will allow me to delegate my time efficiently. Additionally the work undertaken within my college will give me the opportunity to have regular site visits so I can witness the ongoing developments.


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FIGURES FIGURE 1: Manchester’s Cotton Mills were the backbone of its industry ter_feature.shtml

FIGURE 2: Liverpool Docks were essential to is economic success.

FIGURE 3: The Manchester Ship Canal, liberated Manchester from its reliance on Liverpool’s Docks

FIGURE 4: Abandoned terraced houses on Mersey side; a sign of the population exodus during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

FIGURE 5: The Hacienda Club played an iconic role in rebranding Manchester.

FIGURE 6: “Prestige projects” such as, The Imperial War Museum (above left), URBIS (centre) and Bridgewater Hall (above right) helped the city create a cutting edge brand.

FIGURE 7: The Museum of Liverpool (under construction) will provide a 21st Century addition to the ageing Waterfront.

FIGURE 8: The silhouette of cranes dominate Liverpool’s current skyline.

FIGURE 9: Will Alsops,”Cloud” the winning, but never realised proposal for the Fourth Grace site.

FIGURE 10: The vast scale of Liverpool One will dramatically change Liverpool’s retail core.

FIGURE 11: This diagram illustrates the process of the continuing rivalry between Manchester and Liverpool.


TABLES TABLE 1: Illustrating the ongoing population shrinkage and social upheaval as a result of the economic and industrial collapse Source: Census of Population, 1801-2001.


Rival CIties  

The role of rivalry on urban development: the case of Liverpool and Manchester

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