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Paul Dobraszczyk

This chapter reflects on the hidden spaces of the city, using alleyways between terraced housing as its focus. It outlines the development of alleyways in the city’s history, as well as exploring their varied use and more recent near disappearance. It also examines how these spaces have been represented, particularly in the photographs of Shirley Baker and in official documentation by the city council. It asks about their future – how their contradictory identity might be valued rather than problematised.

in Manchester
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Paul Dobraszczyk

Since the industrial period, bees have been an important symbol of Manchester, present in its civic and mercantile iconography. Yet, as this chapter shows, that symbolism shifted in the wake of the terrorist attack on Manchester Arena on 22 May 2017. Since then, bees have become highly visible symbols of solidarity in the face of terror, a way in which citizens of the city have asserted their unity. This chapter uses various images of bees as a way of exploring their enduring popularity as symbols of the city.

in Manchester
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Paul Dobraszczyk

Manchester has been an important centre of textile production since the Tudor period and, despite the destruction that came in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, has retained some of its most significant buildings from this era. Exploring a variety of structures – from grand halls to more modest houses – this chapter highlights this important aspect of the heritage of the urban region. It also questions why so many Tudor buildings have been neglected and left to ruin, asking if more attention should be paid to preserving them.

in Manchester
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Something rich and strange

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.

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Manchester: seeing like a city
Paul Dobraszczyk and Sarah Butler

This chapter introduces the principal themes of the book: first, what constitutes Manchester’s identity as a city and urban region; second, how its current development is changing the urban core; and third, how urban planning might be influenced more broadly by the experiences of the city’s inhabitants. Using poetic readings of Manchester’s rain as a way into a wider understanding of the city, the chapter also introduces the sixty words that make up the book and outlines their organisation into eleven themed sections.

in Manchester