UniverCities: Innovation and Social Capital in Greater Manchester
It has been only since late 1990s that Manchester and the Northwest of UK are openly documented as a potential knowledge city-region and as a crucial economic engine for a decentralized England. Neglected for decades by central policy, Manchester has turned the corner over an initial 15-year process of property-led regeneration, awakening into the service-oriented knowledge economy of the new millennium. Seemingly, such an infrastructure investment process has triggered a step change in the city’s development strategies, moving from its traditional-industry past into creative knowledge-based development. These efforts have strongly shaped and influenced one of the city-region’s most prominent social capital: its universities. As part of a regional strategy, two of them have recently merged into a European “super-campus,” with research-intensive, world-class aspirations, and some scholars would expect the new university to become a nerve center, a powerhouse for social development in the region (Georghiou and Cassingena-Harper, 2003: 9).