Welcome to the MUI Local Advisory Board, 20th June 2024:

This LAB meeting is a creative networking / ideas session – a rapid brainstorm on potential futures, with a focus on ‘advice to the next government’, and the top priorities for research collaboration.

The Manchester city-region is a showpiece, both for challenges and for opportunities.  The next 12 months offer a unique moment for change, with a new national government, GM mayoral term, and President of the University. 

We can explore some of the most pressing issues – from net-zero and housing, to mental health and extremism – and map priorities and possible synergies between the many layers of our city-region.

We take a futures perspective with a ‘third horizon’ of 15-25 years, and we use the Mind-Lab toolkit for mapping ‘from crisis to opportunity’.  We follow on from the major UK Foresight on Cities (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-of-cities-foresight-for-cities).

The results will be compiled as preliminary ‘advice to the next government’, and as collaborative urban research agendas across the University, with further development to follow.  


Approximate timings & questions to be addressed:

  • 4.00        Welcome and networking drinks
  • 4.30        Intro & scoping: ‘what are the Top 5 challenges for GM’:  (form groups for each).
  • 4.40        Interactive (a): ‘which are the ‘Top 3 changes’ expected by 2040/50?’
  • 5.00        Refreshments
  • 5.20        Interactive (b): ‘which are the ‘Top 3 opportunities’ to work on for 2040/50?’
  • 5.40        Review and next steps
  • 6.00        Close

Facilitation: Joe Ravetz, MUI Future Cities Lead, Principal SAMI Consulting etc.

Potential challenges & opportunities – (a ‘STEEP’ long list):

  • Social & community: inequality, health, education, security, cost of living;
  • Technology & infrastructure: AI, IOT, smart platforms, transport, communications;
  • Economy & business: industry, services, skills, innovation, productivity, social economy;
  • Environment & climate: net-zero & energy, food, air & water, urban ecology, waste;
  • Policy & government: democracy, extremism, global north / south…


The Devolution programme in Greater Manchester, and similar city-regions around the UK, is a call for public services to ‘do more with less’, with ‘joined up thinking’, for problems which are complex and inter-connected.  This calls for a ‘multi-helix’ collaboration between public, private and academic sectors. It calls for improved capacity in foresight and the ‘collective urban intelligence’ – the capacity for co-learning and co-innovation between all parts of society.