There are many things that make Manchester a great city, so many in fact that it would take too long to list (okay we may be biased). But, as our city grows, so do its demands, pressures and opportunities. And, these not only impact us as individuals but in many ways shape how we perceive our city.
One area of demand is the quality of air in Manchester. With the positive changes created through CityVerve – how would cleaner air change our experience of Manchester?
We asked a group of 30 children, aged 2 – 10 (and their parents) to answer this question in a visual arts workshop at August’s community forum. We wanted to find out how these changes have shaped the perception of children; how they see the city of Manchester as it currently is and how it could be with cleaner air.
In the workshop, children visualised the process of the city becoming a more efficient and healthier place to live. The workshop ties into the work carried out through CityVerve, which aims to transform Manchester into a smart city. Through one of its initiatives, information gathered through smart sensors will allow appropriate action to be taken to make the city air cleaner.
How do we currently experience Manchester?
So, with air quality as the theme, we began the workshop with discussions about how both children and parents felt about Manchester.
We asked them to share how they experienced Manchester with their five senses. The overall feeling was a sense of pride about the city, but with an honest insight into their experiences. Smells centred around food, car fumes, cigarette smoke and sewage smells (with a mention of flowers to make us feel better). All of these highlighting a need for cleaner air.
The list for hearing was almost as long with sirens, music, cars, cheering, busses, and alarms – the city seemed to be a loud place for children. Tastes mostly centred on food with some children saying they could taste a ‘cloudiness’ or ‘wateriness’.