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Chris Perkins and Martin Dodge

Visual representations have often played a crucial role in imagining future urban forms. In the aftermath of the Second World War, a noteworthy new genre of urban plan was published in Britain, most deploying seductively optimistic illustrations of ways forward not only for the reconstruction of bomb-damaged towns and cities but also for places left largely undamaged. Visual representations have often played a crucial role in imagining future urban forms. In the aftermath of the Second World War, a noteworthy new genre of urban plan was published in Britain, most deploying seductively optimistic illustrations of ways forward not only for the reconstruction of bomb-damaged towns and cities but also for places left largely undamaged. This paper assesses the contribution of visual elements in this,process with a detailed case study of the maps, statistical charts, architectural drawings and photographs enrolled into the 1945 City of Manchester Plan. The cultural production of these visual representations is evaluated. Our analysis interprets the form, symbology and active work of different imagery in the process of reimagining Manchester, but also assesses the role of these images as markers of a particular moment in the cultural economy of the city. This analysis is carried out in relation to the ethos of the Plan as a whole.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library