Manchester: Something rich and strange challenges us to see the quintessential
post-industrial city in new ways. Bringing together twenty-three diverse writers
and a wide range of photographs of Greater Manchester, it argues that how we see
the city can have a powerful effect on its future – an urgent question given how
quickly the urban core is being transformed. The book uses sixty different words
to speak about the diversity of what we think of as Manchester – whether the
chimneys of its old mills, the cobbles mostly hidden under the tarmac, the
passages between terraces, or the everyday act of washing clothes in a
laundrette. Unashamedly down to earth in its focus, this book makes the case for
a renewed imaginative relationship that recognises and champions the fact that
we’re all active in the making and unmaking of urban spaces.
screaming at them to
My friend and I said nothing as we walked by, and then, almost
when we felt we might have been out of earshot of the drama, we
talked briefly about other stabbings that had been in the news.
Then the news more generally. Then other things. Then nothing
for a while, until we arrived at the bar.
A couple of days before all this I’d been cominghome from the
gym – having taken to waking without an alarm, and being at the
gym before 5.30 am. It meant the streets were still quiet when I left
the flat, before the city-centre businesspeople were even
2005 song ‘Station Approach’: ‘cominghome I feel like I designed
these buildings I walk by’.
Yet, for many, there’s a sense that something has irrevocably changed. In this new century, the urban core of Greater
Manchester has been in the throes of its most significant transformation since the Second World War. With purportedly more
cranes in 2019 than any other city in Western Europe gracing the
skyline of the city centre and the inner edges of Salford, dozens
of high-rise apartment buildings and offices are being constructed
at a frenetic pace: the culmination of
good immunity. The laws of economic science that allow markets to flourish also produce income inequality, negative environmental externalities and uneven development. These are just a few examples in a long list of unanticipated consequences of science that are cominghome to roost in the Anthropocene ( Mitchell, 2002 ; Polanyi, 1920  , 1944  ). In both the natural and social sciences, belief in certainty has sometimes produced deadly effects.
This book aims to make the case for pragmatism as an approach to social inquiry in which the absence of