This map is the result of research carried out by Dr Tom Gillespie (University of Manchester) and Dr Jonathan Silver (University of Sheffield) with Greater Manchester Housing Action investigating the privatisation of public land in Manchester. The research focuses on the central wards of Cheetham, Miles Platting & Newton Heath, Ancoats & Beswick, Ardwick, Hulme, Deansgate and Piccadilly. The full research report is available to read here.

This map is intended to improve transparency around public land ownership and use in Manchester and to encourage public debate around how this resource can be better used to address social and environmental needs. You can read this article by The Meteor for more information on the background to the map.

The map draws on a publicly available database of land owned by Manchester City Council in 2020. This addresses the lack of a map of Council-owned land that is easily accessible to the public. Greater Manchester Combined Authority created an online map of council-owned land and building assets in 2015. However, the Manchester City Council area contains very little data compared to other local authority areas.

The map also draws on data about public land disposals in central Manchester collected by the researchers through freedom of information requests submitted to the Council. This addresses the lack of a map of Council land disposals that is easily accessible to the public. The data includes Council-owned land that was disposed of either through freehold or leasehold during the periods 1999-2008 and 2009-2019. The researchers are aware that the datasets provided by the Council appear to be incomplete. However, they give an indication of the scale and extent of public land privatisation in central Manchester during the first two decades of the 21st century.

The researchers are grateful to Isaac Rose for research assistance, Glen Cutwork for design and illustration, Ciaran McAuley for web development and Jamie O’Brien for mapping support.

This project is supported by the University of Manchester and ESRC.