Manchester Loses Housing Package over lowered Housing Target

Place North West

The Government has told Greater Manchester that the City Region will no longer be receiving a £68m brownfield housing fund, following the reduction of housing targets included in the rewritten Spatial Framework.

The Outline Housing Package, agreed in 2017, included a land fund of up to £50m to support the remediation of brownfield land, £10.25m to deliver affordable homes at the Collyhurst estate, and £8m in capacity funding to support setting up a delivery team.

The money and powers were offered on the basis that Greater Manchester provides 227,200 homes over a 20-year period, a figure included in the previous draft of the GMSF and the Greater Manchester Industrial Strategy.

Following the rewrite of the GMSF, the figure has been reduced to 200,980 homes. It is understood that as this is 11% below the previous figure, the Government has written to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority confirming that the deal is no longer on the table.

Greater Manchester leaders, including Mayor Andy Burnham, have defended the change as a response to the reduction in Green Belt release in the plan, and have criticised Government for sending mixed messages about population estimates, and the level of autonomy each region should have to set its own targets.

Talking to Place North West during MIPIM, Burnham said that while civil servants had set “a hard line” that if Greater Manchester didn’t stick to the higher housing numbers it would lose the £68m funding, Housing Minister Kit Malthouse had then suggested it was wrong for Government to pressure local authorities to deliver specific targets.

Without the Housing Package, the City Region is still able to access funding from Homes England, which includes a £600m small sites fund to support councils and developers to release smaller sites.

According to the Housing the Powerhouse coalition of housebuilders and land promoters, which has consistently called for higher housing targets, the decision by Government is an opportunity for GM politicians to negotiate an “even better deal”.

Housing the Powerhouse spokesman Rob Loughenbury, of Lexington Communications, said: “The development industry supports the creation of a GM Plan, including the focus on promoting high quality, healthy and affordable communities.

“We also recognise the difficult political compromises that have had to be made. But we have consistently argued that the assessment of overall housing need is not aligned with the Combined Authority’s more ambitious statements about economic growth. It would be a shame and a significant backwards step if Greater Manchester has lost its £68m brownfield housing package as a result of this.

“If the housing deal is no longer on the table, Greater Manchester must rise to the challenge of negotiating a fresh housing package that reflects its ambition to tackle the housing crisis and support the growth of a global city. The question of overall housing need should be revisited, along with whether the right mixture of homes is planned to meet the aspirations of residents.”

Canada release all its building footprints as open source so why cant @ordnanceSurvey

GISArea

Digital transformation is providing organizations with not only information that was never thought possible, but information that is accessible and usable. Data is the foundational resource that allows organizations to transform and uncover the insights they need to make smart decisions.

And this transformation is no different when the organization is the Government of Canada.

In July of 2018, StatsCan and Microsoft collaborated in order to tackle a unique challenge for our vast country. Together, by leveraging AI, they developed a solution that will help all Canadians.

Using’s StatsCan’s Open Database of Buildings which is generated from municipal open databases, along with satellite and aerial imagery, coupled with Bing Maps’ significant investments in the areas of deep learning, computer vision and artificial intelligence, Microsoft is strengthening Canada’s census with smart data and a better understanding of where people live. This is done by mapping the footprints of every building in the country. We are releasing more than 12 million building footprints in Canada to the OpenStreetMap community.

When you know where the buildings are, you know where the people are. Accounting for this has always been a great challenge for governments, as well as humanitarian efforts and philanthropic initiatives. By putting people on the map, everyone can have access to services that we can sometimes take for granted.

As open data, the map of building footprints will be available to all Canadians looking to better understand their country. Building Footprints allows for integrating open data from municipal, regional, and provincial governments to meet the needs of official statistics. A better understanding will allow for better decision making across all sectors, both private and public.

Microsoft Building Footprints is more than simply outlining the buildings that exist along the roads on a map. These building footprints identify the buildings you didn’t know were there, on the roads and pathways that don’t appear on maps and don’t connect to any known road networks. By using satellite and aerial imagery, Microsoft was able to look for the stuff that maps didn’t know existed. And by relying on imagery that is constantly being updated, new construction is quickly added to the database, unlike traditional mapping that will never catch up as new shovels hit the ground every day across the country.

In order to identify every single building in Canada, from coast to coast to coast, through machine learning, the solution was able to identify shapes, learn which were buildings and then convert everything to geometry data that is easily processible for geography applications. Canada is only the second country where Microsoft has undertaken this initiative after the U.S. and the machine had to relearn and adjust for Canada’s vast rural, agricultural and differing landscape and biomes. With adjustments along the way, the whole process took approximately four months to map every building.

Now that it is live and open to everyone, we are proud to have been part of this massive open data initiative that helps Canadians and ensures that everyone is counted. And we are excited to see what happens next as governments, businesses, NGOs and academic institutions take advantage of what we have learned.