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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)



Parts of the following article sound a bit dated (97/98 time) now but I thought it might serve as a semi-useful introduction until I find something more suitable!



The Northern Quarter

The NQ is a unique area of the City Centre, and an unrealised asset for Manchester. It is contradictory and paradoxical: Oldham Street, the central thoroughfare, has boarded up pubs, sex shops and choking traffic fumes alongside designer bars and cafes, nationally recognised record shops, fashion outlets, and 'regenerated' office space. Shabby, with stylish next door.




The NQ is one of those areas lying between the City Centre and the 'inner city' residential belt that characterises many British cities. It was the central trading area in Victorian Manchester, home to the City's Smithfields food markets - bustling activity from dawn 'till dusk, a 24 Hour economy. In post war years it was Manchester's main shopping district, Oldham Street its central attraction. The retail revolution of the 60s and 70s suddenly left it marginalised. Land and property values plummeted and the retail sector went into decline. But this marginalisation has also allowed new sorts of business operations into the area, just as it has allowed activities mostly banished from city centres to persist.







It is a still a mixed-use area of the sort that has disappeared in many cities and is now sought anew by the current wave of urban regeneration: Fashion designers and market traders; curry houses and architects; council houses and craft centre; designer hairstylists and barrowboys; World-Wide-Web weaving microbusinesess and sewing machine shops; recording studios, renowned music venues, record labels and pram shops, pet shops, wool shops; a Methodist Hall and a Buddhist Centre; Dickensian pubs and ambient chill-outs.



City Fringe: Zone of Innovation
The NQ is a 'transitional zone', a city fringe. Its marginal status is its weakness and its strength. All big cities have these zones, sandwiched between the city centre and the outer districts: Camden, Hackney and Whitechapel; Belleville in Paris; SoHo and the Lower East Side, NewYork's emergent 'silcon alley'; Gracia in Barcelona; Keuzeberg and Oranienburger in Berlin; Naviglio in Milan.

These areas not only provide a refuge for smaller, marginal businesses, they act as incubators of new economic activity. Cheap rents, short contracts, lots of sub-letting are accompanied by dense networks that allow both old and new businesses to survive and grow. Many of these new businesses fail. The ones that succeed and grow will quite possibly move out to other areas of the city. They are generators not showcases.

City Fringes are crucial to the economy of the city. They are areas of seedbed industries - and of a special sort. They tend to be innovative and thrive on the localised accumulation of knowledge, skills and ideas that are transmitted by dense networks. Economists have called this clustering. In the 80s science parks and industrial districts were seen to reap the benefits of this cluster effect. In the 90s one of the major economic advantages of cities will be to provide for and build on this clustering, adding to the new the dense accumulation of older existing networks.


Creative Quarter
One of the main strategies for NQ regeneration is as Manchester's 'creative quarter'. It is not a 'cultural quarter' in the commonly understood sense of an area of mainly subsidised cultural provision; it refers to its function as a zone of innovation, experimentation and risk-taking.

This is not just about immediate job creation, nor about the regeneration of a particular area (though it involves both); it is about the strategic role of the Regional Centre as a whole. If Manchester is to move forwards into the next century, as a city that works and not just limps along, then it needs to adapt and innovate. No one thing will provide for this, but as with education, we all know that without information, communication and knowledge this will not happen. The cultural industries exist at the heart of these and play a crucial role in the adaption to change and the pursuit of innovation to which Manchester strives.

The NQ can be Manchester's cultural industries quarter, focusing and extending its support for new creative businesses; its urban training quarter, building links between new businesses, the big cultural production houses and the huge Higher and Further Education resources that this Regional Centre possesses; its intelligent quarter, establishing Manchester at the forefront of the Information and Communications revolution; its creative quarter, linking this creative and innovative sector to the development of the wider city economy.

The focus is on economic regeneration, capitalising on the increased importance of the cultural industries as a growth sector - but the creative quarter incorporates the new models of urban regeneration which value quality of life and urban milieu as a creative, supportive environment. The NQ certainly has its share of heritage; its Georgian cottages, its looming 19th century warehouses, hidden traces of popular culture in its pet shops, pubs, even cinemas and roller rinks. With its adjacent districts the NQ already has three Conservation Areas and a range of listed buildings. But this heritage is to be linked to the future.

City centre living, the 24 Hour City, the 'European City' - these are all different ways of creating and sustaining a new metropolitan lifestyle, a new way of living in the city. If the Centre is not to be destroyed by the out-of-town retail and leisure complexes it must begin to create new forms of attraction and civic pride, suited to the 21st century.




The NQ is a city fringe, a metropolitan zone as vital to the success of the city as the great showcases of the centre. Only a few cities in Britain outside London can sustain such areas; all vibrant cities have them. Here the city is fertile ground sprouting seed bed industries; here networking and clustering takes place, small and microbusinesses creating synergy; here is urban living, thriving on that sense on cultural animation, expression and experimentation not found in other city spaces; here are urban art and urban pleasures which vividly express that dynamic urban culture which is the true mark of a cosmopolitan, creative city.
 

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EnglandsNorthWest
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View of Coliseum and site of new Hemmingway apartments:


23 (my building) and 25 Church Street (both with conran interiors):


And looking towards High St on a busy winter evening:
 

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Interesting read. The northern quarter is a fascinating area. but can feel intimidating IMO ,is it true they used this area in a recent film to recreate a downtown New York look?Certainly gives that feel with all the tall fire escapes and large red brick buildings.All they would need is a few dont walk signs and yellow traffic lights suspended over the road and there you have it.
 

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Top pics Chris.
I'd be interested to see any plans for High Street (which you have somehow managed to look good!!).
It's a bit 70's Warrington at the moment :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Some of the major current developments in the Northern Quarter

The Birchin Building




Ician Masterplan


Current phase of Ician - Icon25




Pall Mall House
 

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Cheers for that Sleepy,,Icon25 looks like it's going to be stunning,
Where's the Birchen building?
And i was going to mention that corner of Shudehill and Swan St the other day,that building thats there now as become a right eyesore , have you got a render of the "Hanover" part of the masterplan?
 

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Mmm, Danone
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No skyscrapers please. Keep this area of the city as it is, use and height wise. Imagine plonking a 150m tower in the middle of Camden. You'd shit your leg off and demand a jihad was placed on whichever son of a bitch wanted to destroy the cool bohemian vibe belonging to the home of London's alternative scene. Granted, it's more corporate these days but that enough has lead to Camden being a bit shit these days. I'd rather everything in the NQ were kept local and independent, please.
 

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10th February 2008
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A hidden gem in the Northern Quarter! :)

Well worth a visit!





Manchester Craft Centre
17 Oak Street, (off Tib Street) Northern Quarter,
Smithfield, Manchester M4 5JD.
Tel: 0161-832 4274. Fax : 0161-832 3416.

A novel designer, maker, studio, retail craft market set in a grand old Victorian cast iron and glass building in the Manchester Northern Quarter, fully restored to its former glory. Unique combinations of workshops where you can see artefacts being made, and retail studio showrooms where you can browse and buy the merchandise.

It is rather hidden away amongst new residential developments just off Tib Street at the Swan Street end, in the so-called "Northern Quarter" of the city centre, just 5 minutes walk from Piccadilly Gardens. Good nearby street car parking. Jointly run and promoted by the North West Arts Board, Arts About Manchester, Greater Manchester Visitor Centre, North West Tourist Board and Manchester City Council.

It has very much of a feel of the old "guilds" of artisans, and the atmosphere is both relaxed and invigorating. Two storeys of arcaded workshops with an excellent vegetarian café/restaurant (formerly "The Olive Branch", recently resurrected as "Dr Livvy's Café") on site, where you may take a light meal to the accompaniment of live piano music.

The two floors of designers, contemporary craft workers and artists who trade here deal in a wide range of media, including : ceramics, textiles, jewellery, sculpture, screen printing, carved wooden artefacts, glassware, furniture and designer clothing and accessories. Most of the craft workers exhibit at trades fairs, and there is a regularly changing programme of exhibitions and displays.

A good place to shop, to browse, or to take a morning coffee or lunch. Open Monday to Saturday from 10.30am-5.30pm.

http://www.craftanddesign.com/
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
No skyscrapers please. Keep this area of the city as it is, use and height wise. Imagine plonking a 150m tower in the middle of Camden. You'd shit your leg off and demand a jihad was placed on whichever son of a bitch wanted to destroy the cool bohemian vibe belonging to the home of London's alternative scene. Granted, it's more corporate these days but that enough has lead to Camden being a bit shit these days. I'd rather everything in the NQ were kept local and independent, please.
dgnr8, totally agreed. N/4 is simply not the place. Cities need variety. Pall Mall House is probably the tallest we'll see I think.

Where's the Birchen building?
Its directly behind Pall Mall House, currently covered in scaffolding facing the rear of the Debenhams building.....




Im trying to cobble together information on some of the N/4's major assets and attractions such as Afflecks Palace, Chinese Arts Centre, the Craft and Design Centre, Bhuddist Centre. Anyone want to chip in with some suggestions or pictures?
 

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Caw if you refering to a Queen is Dead tshirt try Slater's just around the corner,,i'll get some pics of the NQ next time im on a photo stroll .
 

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Highly animated and visible from miles around, this beacon sculpture uses brilliant neon colours to reflect the vibrancy of this rapidly developing area - a location of refurbished warehouse apartments, creative design businesses and bars.

Big Boys Toy is a 12 metre high animated neon sculpture installed on the top of Tib Street car park in the centre of Manchester.

Commissioned for the Northern Quarter, Manchester in 1998.
 

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The Buddhist Centre Building is great - now that's New York in Manchester if I've ever seen it.


The Earth Cafe part of said centre:



The whole area has developed rapidly of late (some great boozers opened - Rodeo etc).
Spot on with the Independent feel being retained.
Has more record shops per sq whatever than EB could shake a stick at.
 

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dgnr8 said:
No skyscrapers please. Keep this area of the city as it is, use and height wise. Imagine plonking a 150m tower in the middle of Camden. You'd shit your leg off and demand a jihad was placed on whichever son of a bitch wanted to destroy the cool bohemian vibe belonging to the home of London's alternative scene. Granted, it's more corporate these days but that enough has lead to Camden being a bit shit these days. I'd rather everything in the NQ were kept local and independent, please.
How much of an impact is the eastgate tower going to have on NQ or is it far enough away?
 

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oscar9 said:
How much of an impact is the eastgate tower going to have on NQ or is it far enough away?
I also live in 23 Church Street =P

Anyway, Eastgate will have some effect on the N1/4 albeit small. The N1/4 is just slightly out of range. However, if more independent stores and eateries open up here, then it will draw more people from all over town.
 

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Eastgate will surely have a similar effecdt on N1/4 as Sunley and CIS. It will be visible from parts but I think it will be clear that its a seperate area.
The larger developments surrounding N1/4 will have a wrapping effect almost. An entrance to the area from all sides.
 
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