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Manchester's Digital Plan Takes Shape. Property Needs To Prepare


Manchester’s new digital strategy will mean innovation districts and smart hubs focused on a handful of mostly city-centre neighbourhoods.

The plan, which is now being drafted ahead of public consultation in spring 2021, suggests that smart city technologies will be rolled out to the ambitious 4M SF ID:Manchester development now seeking a development partner, and Federated Hermes' NOMA, which could become digital hubs with new connectivity, new fibre networks and access to 'digital discovery' data.

A report to councillors said that the Oxford Road Corridor dominated by Bruntwood SciTech, ID:Manchester, NOMA and the Northern Quarter (with 71K SF Federation House specifically mentioned); the newly revealed 16-acre science campus at North Manchester General Hospital; and the SportTech cluster around the Etihad stadium in East Manchester could all benefit. Wythenshawe hospital could also be included.

The document suggests open access to “advanced wireless in digital neighbourhoods and access to kit/devices”.

The digital strategy is described as a “cross cutting theme” to Manchester’s post-pandemic economic recovery strategy, which relies on attracting mobile tech businesses to the city.

Arup, which has provided some of the groundwork for the plan, has built on the experience of the 2015-2018 CityVerve initiative in which Manchester was the UK trial city for the Internet of Things.

Arup has also “considered case studies of other global cities’ digital strategies”.

The council’s ruling Executive will consider a draft of the plan early next year.