Climathon Manchester 2017

Presentation of the project site to competition teams

Introduction to the Climathon

Climathon is a global 24-hour climate change hackathon, powered by Climate-KIC, which will take place simultaneously in major cities around the world on 27 October 2017.

Now in its third year of operation, the Climathon movement has grown from 19 to 59 cities, operating across 6 continents, creating over 2330 ideas and reaching 16.8 million worldwide in 2016. Each city sets its own local climate challenge that reflects what affects their urban life the most. Challenges can vary from air quality, water and waste management, mobility and extreme weather events. After 24 intense hours of collaboration, excitement and solution-finding, the best idea in each city will be selected by a jury consisting of relevant local stakeholders.

Summary of the Brief

Manchester is experiencing the combined effects of climate change, ongoing growth and

urban development; surface water flooding has increased ten-fold since the 1950s, and the

number of heat stress incidents has doubled over the same period. The Manchester Climate Change Strategy 2017-50 sets out the commitment to use ‘green infrastructure’ (GI) both existing and new, to reduce these impacts.

The Manchester Climathon 2017, is a one-day competition. Teams, both professional and student will develop an area-specific but scalable GI project and investment strategy, that enables the scheme to be delivered and managed over the long-term at a proposed site. At the culmination of the day’s efforts, teams will present their proposed GI spatial and investment plans to a judging panel made up of experts and key stakeholders.

 The Blue-Green Thread group working on their proposals

The Students

The winning group called themselves 'Blue-Green Thread' (all groups had to adopt a and included: 'Sam Cortis, Julia Torr, Tugce Kurak, Rachel Wai Kwan Tse, Chris Chun Yin Yeung and Ben Wayles.

The Climathon brief was focused around the regeneration of West Gorton. The key elements that required addressing were flood mitigation and an increase in green space for residents, both of which could form a practical solution to climate change on a local level.

The solution was to create a network of SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) and community parkland space weaving through West Gorton - this became the “Blue-Green Thread”.

The thought process of the team was that while there were many issues in West Gorton, of economic and social deprivation; until the flood risk problem was solved none of the other issues could be addressed.

Traditionally flood management uses hard solutions, such as expensive and highly engineered channels and gullies, which simply move the problem downstream. SuDS can be both effective in dealing with the impact of surface water and beautiful. Swales, rain gardens, biofiltration basins, reed beds and other wetland systems, alongside street trees could easily retrofit into existing roads and green spaces; not only absorbing the run-off water and holding it like a sponge, but reducing the urban heat island effect by adding more green and blue space into urban areas.

A carefully integrated SuDS scheme would also improve the value of the area, making daily pedestrian and bike journeys more appealing, and encourage residents to stay local and stay on foot, which in turn could improve physical and mental health through the natural restorative features of being close to vegetation and water."

The group also felt it was important that this network connected all of West Gorton, (and could be delivered in phases), so that all residents had access to green corridors, attenuation ponds and open green community space. This would encourage residents to develop a sense of pride in their area, living in a green community where natural space is accessible for all and is an integral part of West Gorton’s future.

The Judge

The Group won because their presentation addressed the core issues of Flooding and The Urban Heat Island most clearly and comprehensively. They were also much better at communicating the application of these ideas.

Their proposals also considered how to engage residents in interesting ways, although this was not quite as strong as some others. None of the groups were judged to have successfully addressed the economic viability of their proposals. However, this group were commended in the way that they envisaged how industry and local businesses could be involved in financing and managing the project, something not many of the others were able to achieve.

Edited version from Briefing documents-“Join the Climathon movement, drive climate action” from, Julia Torr’s description of the winning group approach and judges feedback from Eddy Fox


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