The Manchester lab is situated in the Brunswick neighbourhood, a former social housing estate with about 4000 people, adjacent to the university and the city centre. The area is near the end of a 10-year regeneration and housing renewal program. The University of Manchester coordinated this lab, working with the regeneration agency S4B, Brunswick Tenants and Residents Association, University Ardwick Partnership, social housing providers and many community groups.


The neighbourhood has a diverse population, is bordered by major roads with high noise and air pollution and is facing rapid gentrification. Citizen identified five interconnected priorities: air quality, traffic safety, street security, community spaces and greening. While there are policies for neighbourhood improvements and ‘active travel’, all resources have gone into the housing program, and so local priorities have to somehow generate their own resources.

The Manchester Living Lab explores five interconnected areas of concern identified by Brunswick residents: air quality, traffic, safety, community spaces and greening. Brunswick is a neighbourhood on the edge of the city centre dominated by social housing built in the 1960s and 70s, which is currently undergoing  regeneration.

In order to learn more about the co-creation process, please consult the project deliverables below.

Location of the Manchester Looper Living Lab


Much technical data was collected by students in a university-community collaboration. We used a 360-degrees camera to explore particular locations on the geo-tagging tool. The Manchester Urban Observatory also sponsored high-resolution traffic cameras to analyse the impact of a speed limit intervention.

Generally, this lab practiced a ‘deep place’ engagement, using simple methods such as an aerial map and the Ketso tool. This produced a list of 13 main ideas, which were debated in a workshop program. Five projects were implemented: traffic calming, a street mural, street planting, domestic plant baskets and welcome signs and banners. A second loop assessed the outcomes and set the direction for future work. Overall, the Manchester lab shows the potential of a ‘deep place’ engagement, to mobilise the vision and energy of residents, and unlock the resources in government and public services. While the Looper Model here cannot solve all structural problems of inequality and exclusion, it can provide ways forward which help to mobilize and empower the creative potential of the community.

Relevant links and deliverables: