Space in Common

Space in Common set out to explore how we can have more constructive and inclusive conversations about what gets built where in Greater Manchester and beyond.

The work was centred on four workshops, anticipating planned consultation on a re-drafted ‘Spatial Framework’ for Greater Manchester. Download the key messages that emerged from these sessions:

Through these workshops we aimed to:

  • Learn about people’s previous experience of campaigns and discussions about spatial planning in Greater Manchester.
  • Help participants understand how decisions are currently made, and find out about promising examples of how things have been done differently elsewhere.
  • Link up people interested in this topic from a range of angles, and explore what possibilities there are for starting to build a better quality of debate in Greater Manchester.
  • Share our learning with key policy actors, and support members of our group to make change themselves.

The Democratic Society led on bringing together a small group of people interested in this topic from a range of different angles. You can read reports from three of the four workshops on the DemSoc website.

Workshop 1: A better debate about what's built where
Brought together a small group with a stake in this issue from a range of different standpoints to talk about their experiences of this topic and to start thinking about what a better conversation might look like. Read more.

Workshop 2: How does Spatial Planning work, and how can it work better?
Drew on some expert advice to explore how spatial planning decisions currently work and how communities can feed into these decisions, and sharing some examples of how people have tried to build more productive debates elsewhere. Read more.

Workshop 3: Making a change
Just Space, an organisation that has built a different way of working in another city, shared some of their experiences to help us reflect on what opportunities and barriers there are to building a different way of working in Greater Manchester. Read more.

Workshop 4: Keeping it going
The last workshop reflected on what has happened so far, considered key messages, and explored possibilities to carry forward what we learned together.

This project was delivered by The Democratic Society in collaboration with Jam and Justice.

To hear about The Democratic Society's role in this work, write to

News, events and blog

As Space in Common has come to an end, we’ve created a short report assessing what was achieved and sharing some of the key points learnt from these discussions.

More than sixty people gathered at the Ziferblat event space in Manchester’s Northern Quarter to celebrate the publication of the report, How can we govern cities differently? The promise and practices of co-production.

During a visit to Gothenburg in March 2019, the Jam and Justice delegation held three workshops with officers from Gothenburg City Council and Gothenburg Region Assocation of Local Authorities. In this 6th post from the translocal learning series, Jam and Justice ARC member Adrian Ball reflects how preparing to speak in Gothenburg prompted him to appreciate the ways the project had influenced his day job.

Adrian writes:

An Evening with Jam and Justice - How can we govern cities differently? (Banner image)
Wednesday, July 3, 2019 - 17:30 to 20:00
Ziferblat, Edge Street, Manchester, M4 1HW

The Jam and Justice Action Research Collective will be sharing what we have learned and celebrating the outcomes of our projects in Greater Manchester.

Map of Greater Manchester and the surrounding area with highlighted details relating to the Spatial Framework (2016 proposal)
Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - 17:00 to 19:15
Central Manchester

As consultations on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framwork re-open, the Space in Common project convenes for its fourth workshop, looking at what can be done to involve more voices in Greater Manchester's planning processes.

Deliberations about Greater Manchester’s Spatial Framework are entering a new phase under the guidance of Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett. Strategic urban planning might seem like a niche interest, but the use of space in and around the city region affects every citizen’s life.

Monday, June 11, 2018 - 12:00 to 13:30
Manchester Central Library

Devolution promised to open up new opportunities for community engagement and empowerment, shifting power from Whitehall to the Townhall. One year on since the election of Andy Burnham as Mayor of Greater Manchester, Jam and Justice's Action Research Collective are hosting a debate in Manchester Central Library to discuss the changing horizons of collective decision-making in Greater Manchester.