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Could You Turn Useless Mancunion Way Into A Park?

The Mancunion Way In 10 Years' Time? Dutch studio MVRDV has converted a former overpass into a plant-covered walkway in Seoul, which follows a kilometre-long route above the traffic.

Since 1967 the Mancunion Way has thundered through the southern flank of central Manchester. And according to one observer, the time has come to ask, why?

The road once connected the collieries of East Manchester to the docks at Salford. Today neither the collieries nor the docks exist, and the concrete collar of the elevated highway (along with the unfriendly low-level sections around Ancoats, Ardwick, the NOMA development in the North and Trinity Way in the west) are suffocating the city's growing resident population, Manchester City Councillor Samuel Wheeler argues in Manchester Confidential.

Removing the ring road could open up a series of valuable and well-located sites around central Manchester.

The inner ring road was designed in an era when a large resident population in the city centre was unthinkable, Wheeler said. Now he believes the time has come to turn the ring road into a park, and in the process to heal the wounds it has created in Manchester's urban geography.

Seoul could inspire an alternative: Dutch studio MVRDV designed the conversion of a stretch of elevated highway into a plant-covered walkway in Seoul. The half-mile park now rises above the traffic, Dezeen reports.

Other regional cities long ago dismantled their elevated ring roads, with Birmingham the star example. The city centre now ranges over a much wider area and is no longer confined behind the walls created by the ring road.

"Even if the inner ring road were not redundant in its purpose and actively detrimental to public health, it would still be worth dismantling, because of what a tremendous opportunity that would present for the city. The land the road and its attendant slip roads [are] vast, and would be a worthy prize," Wheeler said.