Guardian Live | The Great Debate at Design Manchester
Place, Communications, Education


The Public’s Realm?


One of the highlights of the Manchester design festival in October, The Great Debate is the UK’s annual public debate about design and society.

The public realm is the key ingredient of a livable city – our architecture and landmarks, our open spaces – but what is the public’s role in shaping it? How much of our public space is privately owned? How well connected are the different parts of our cities? How can we make sure our public realm supports our communities – and how welcoming are we to visitors? These issues were debated at Manchester School of Art by footballer-turned-developer Gary Neville, whose plans for new developments in Manchester City Centre caused controversy when first revealed; Ali Grehan, the city architect of Dublin who has led that city’s design strategy over the past decade; and Katie Tonkinson, partner at architects Hawkins\Brown. The debate was chaired by Professor Rachel Cooper OBE, the director of ImaginationLancaster and academic lead of the N8 Northern Universities on Urban Transformation Research.

The Great Debate was developed and is produced by Kasper de Graaf. Streamed editions of all the debates can also be viewed on the Design Manchester YouTube Channel.

Following the debate, Gary Neville and Rachel Cooper contributed articles to Document Seventeen, the Design Manchester magazine.