Manchester – a city evolved from its industrial past
September 16, 2015 -
You find Manchester at a pivotal moment. The last 20 years have seen enormous change – to the fabric of the city and the experiences of many people who live here. We are a rebuilt city that has emerged from our post-industrial past, stronger and ready to face the future as a connected urban centre that is part of a wider European community.
Young people have been the driving force behind this post-industrial renaissance; leading a cultural revolution during the 1980s and 1990s which saw global success for Mancunian bands such as the Happy Mondays, Stone Roses and Oasis. Today there is a new wave of young artists and makers taking advantage of the city’s diversity, creating and sharing physical and digital content as part of an underground scene that continues to be a creative force to be reckoned with. But now we are entering a new phase of the city’s evolution and the challenges that Manchester will face in the future will be just as significant as those of the past. We know from experience that only by empowering young people within society will we be able to meet these challenges and ensure that the city continues to thrive.
Fortunately for us: as most other European cities become older, Manchester becomes younger – with over 40% of the population now aged 25 or under. This means that today there are more young people in Manchester than at any point in living memory. These young people are also far more diverse than at any point in history, living as they do in a culturally mixed city, a place where 153 languages are spoken. We can’t predict exactly what this means for the city in the coming decades, but we know that we must empower young people to be able to determine their own and Manchester’s future.
Designed and led by young people themselves, our Valuing Young People Strategy makes a commitment that young people will be able to make the decisions that affect them. From this position of strength, young people are now leading on Manchester’s bid to become European Youth Capital in 2018 and are developing a programme focused around the themes of creative diversity and generational equity. Creative diversity provides the foundation upon which our young, diverse and creative population believe they can best showcase their potential. Correspondingly generational equity is one of the key challenges identified within European youth policy and is key to realising the potential of our youth; ensuring that the young people of Manchester truly benefit from, and contribute to, the city’s success.
With world class facilities and a reputation as a welcoming city we are confident that Manchester is in a unique position to host EYC 2018. It is an exciting time for our city, and an exciting time to be a young person here. Should our bid be successful we hope to be able to share our ideas, creativity and diversity with young people and youth organisations from across Europe, using EYC as a celebration of the change that we have achieved and a demonstration of the power that young people have to shape our city.