Module 3: Introduction

As cityscapes go, Manchester’s skyline is a pretty compelling document in which we can read, like rings inside a tree, its long and varied history – a series of explosions (sometimes literally), incursions and developments that made their permanent mark on the built environment. There aren’t many other cities in Britain with our particular mix of grand Victorian architecture, brick mills and other beautifully stark industrial buildings cosied up to futuristic glass-and-steel fancies like the Urbis building or Beetham Tower. What began life as a Roman settlement on the banks of the Irwell, on a large plain surrounded by hills, is now one of the biggest cities in Britain. And anyone who spends an afternoon walking around the city can’t fail to be surprised by the many different neighbourhoods it contains – from the atmospheric bridge, tunnel and canal landscapes of Castlefield to the square, unadorned industrial blocks of Ancoats; from the Medieval feeling of the area around Cathedral Gardens to the bohemian, artsy Northern Quarter –visitors can suddenly cross an invisible boundary between one neighbourhood and another and be in a completely different world. Why not share some of these short itineraries and clusters with them.

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