REVEALED | The changing face of Greater Manchester

Planning tech company VU.CITY shows how city and town skylines will look in the years to come through a series of videos.

Development in the fast-evolving city is often hard to keep pace with, let alone visualise. VU.CITY has risen to the challenge.

The company’s 10-20 second fly-through videos depict the projects emerging in various districts. They are colour-coded, to show existing, recently completed buildings, consented schemes, and those under construction.

In doing so, they give a picture of Greater Manchester’s changing skylines and show the immense scale of development currently underway in the city.

The neighbourhoods, or planned neighbourhoods, represented in the videos are a mix of high- and low-rise schemes, office buildings, and apartment blocks. The projects range from large to smaller scale. Each taps into the city’s rapid population growth and high demand for commercial and residential property.


In the heart of Manchester city centre, near Piccadilly train station, council-led masterplans such as Piccadilly East, Piccadilly Basin, and Portugal Street East are attracting interest from developers wanting to add more homes and offices to the skyline.

The area is seeing major regeneration in the form of the £1.4bn Mayfield – a redevelopment of 30 acres of derelict land between Piccadilly station and Mancunian Way. When finished, Mayfield will comprise a mixed-use scheme with offices, homes, and other public realm and leisure uses. Mayfield also contains Manchester’s first public park in a century, which is now complete.

Some of the initial phases of Mayfield have been plotted on VU.CITY’s Piccadilly fly-through, including the first two offices and a car park.

Great Jackson Street

Further south, the Great Jackson Street district contains some of Manchester’s tallest skyscrapers, either built or planned. Many of them are being brought forward by the developer Renaker, which is behind the 1,500-home Deansgate Square, featuring four towers between 37 and 64 storeys high, among others.

Another developer, Great Jackson Street Estates, is behind Park Place, a pair of 56-storey skyscrapers planned to offer more than 1,000 apartments.

St John’s

Close to Spinningfields and on the border with Salford, developer Allied London is delivering the £1bn St John’s masterplan – a regeneration of the former ITV Granada site in Quay Street into a 4m sq ft mixed-use neighbourhood.

The scheme involves both new-build and refurbished properties, including 3,000 residential units, up to 600,000 sq ft of workspace, 400,000 sq ft of leisure space, hotels, arts and culture buildings, and public realm.

Salford Quays

Across the river, Salford Quays is an area that has seen a renaissance in recent decades with the arrival of the BBC at MediaCityUK. But plenty of other developments are in the pipeline or under construction, intended to meet the rising demand for homes and student accommodation in high-density, high-rise buildings. X1 Developments’ four-block Media City Phase II, which includes a 41-storey tower that would be Salford’s tallest, is one example.


The last fly-through shows the borough of Stockport undergoing its own transformation through a range of public and private sector ventures. Among them is the £145m Stockport Exchange, an office-led mixed-use regeneration of the former Grand Central area of the town, being delivered by the council in partnership with Muse Developments.

Stockport Interchange, meanwhile, is a £120m redevelopment of the bus station into a modern transport hub, 196 apartments, and a park. Two private sector schemes are highlighted in the clip – Investar’s £65m Royal George Village, a mixed-use redevelopment of part of Stockport College, and the college’s own £24m campus upgrade.


VU.CITY is a collaborative 3D platform that removes future risks, right from the beginning.

From a single location to city-wide planning, users can test ideas instantly and visualise schemes in accurate, up-to-date context, with functionality and data that helps with making better design and decisions, faster.

VU.CITY provides architects, developers, planning consultants, and local authorities with a shared and clear path in mapping out a city’s future.

Try VU.CITY for yourself with a free trial.  No download, no ties, and no credit card required. Click here to start your trial.


Your Comments

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Don’t see many balconies on these CGI blocks

By Balcony warrior

Amazing and that’s just the centre, some big developments currently underway in the suburbs as well like Eccles for example. And rumours of a couple of real biggies to come in the centre shortly. Exciting times

By Bob

Where are the green spaces.


This is crazy man. Entirely new districts/towns in about 5-10 years.

By Anonymous

Does it show the new hospitals and schools that are required because of all this great development. Or do we just rely on what we’ve already got (hand over face emoji)

By Anonymous

Wow, that’s a lot of development. Go back 25, 30 years and you’d be looking at a lot surface car parks and dereliction. 20 years before that and slum clearance on a grand scale . which is when the real mistakes were made. I lived in some of those slums as a kid both in Whaley Range and in Salford. I miss them from a nostalgia perspective but no way would I go back if I could.

By Albert

This will make people in Birmingham really envious, as their 2nd city title is seriously under threat unless Andy Street can work a miracle.

By Anonymous

What do these rumours entail please? ‘of a couple of real biggies to come in the centre shortly’. Taller than the south tower at 200m?thanks

By DaveB

Wow – lots of development, and investment, going on in Greater Manchester. How does this compare with what’s going on in London?

By Anonymous

Just shows that Manchester has absolutely zero tall building strategy guiding the development of the city centre.

By Curly

The old supposedly run down Manchester had one of the greatest music scenes in world and the best nightlife in the country.All that has been lost for a sterile boring city as a result of the dull property developers who built the new Manchester.

By Anonymous

Love to see it Manchester!! Surely we have already claimed the title of the UKs second city. Birmingham cannot compete!

By Anonymous

No mention of the 15,000 homes being built as part of Victoria North, the whole district near Victoria Station will be transformed over the next 5 years

By WindyMcWindface

Birmingham has fallen behind and Leeds cannot even get a HS2 station, Manchester has made sensible use of all the governments extra funding for transport and culture ,and general focus it receives and is forging ahead of the rest, and even though some people lament the destruction of parts of old Manchester and the music scene that will be relocate somewhere, and in the meantime wealth and jobs will flood into the city.

By Anonymous

Don’t know how’s judged…Population, GDP, Economic activity, growth?

By Just saying

Nightlife has been lost!…no music scene! Oh come on! At least make an effort ! Covid had dampened things for a while but that’s been everywhere. Check the number of venues large and small there are around the city and then have another go.

By Anonymous

Curly, Manchester has a very clear tall buildings policy hence the Great Jackson st area ,also Greengate is another area in the city centre where talls have been zoned. You are probably talking about small to medium…but that’s just a city. Buildings are what it’s about, offices, shops and apartments. Any flatter and it would be called the suburbs. Flatter than that and it’s known as the country. Hope that helps.

By Anonymous

Just another doubling of the population in size to actually catch Birmingham might help this so called 2nd city claim. No wonder Brummies laugh at this constant patter. Just focus on continued growth and development rather than silly titles.

By DriveLid

DriveLid, yes it is silly patter but then let’s be honest , so is your point. Actual city size is of course historical and almost meaningless now . London is in a different league but the two cities and countless towns and boroughs that make up what we now call London developed in a very different way , the point is that the conurbation, it’s population, how it’s many services, transport infrastructure, police ambulance etc are planned , governed and managed, it’s GDP and it’s growth are all that makes an urban area what it is .What you call it after that is just marketing. Personally I thing we are all hamstrung by labels like city region or Greater this or that. The conurbation should call itself after the largest or most important city within that area and reference to the city of ‘whatever’ should be made when you want to be specific. Just like London has done for decades though it developed in a different way. Like I said , just marketing and no other town has to change their name or status . Would play well at the MIPIM for both Manchester and Liverpool.

By Anonymous

Let London and Birmingham fight it out for 2nd city status, Manchester can concentrate on being number 1.

By Anonymous

The North has never had a dominant city and that is why London has always ruled the roost. Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield were all a similar size in the empire days, with Liverpool perhaps just a tad bigger, than the others. Manchester was never allowed to grow organically like London was and swamp neighbouring areas. If it had been able to do it would have reached Rossendale, Wigan, Derbyshire and Wilmslow. There has always been a parochialism up here that you don’t get in the South East. Manchester’s population is a bit of a non-story and used by people from other cities which are frankly decades behind . It has no realistic rival outside the capital. That battle is over. London’s development happened because as ever it got all the investment, even when we made all the money. If Manchester had had a proper transport system linking it with its environs it would have been an actual rival to London. If Manchester were in Germany, it would be our Frankfurt.

By Elephant

Some do get far too obsessed with the 2nd city situation and I personally don’t know anyone who genuinely cares as long as Manchester keeps on being Manchester. However I can confirm that Brummies have more of an issue with the 2nd city claim than anyone else does and we all know it’s because in modern times there are a number of cities that can claim the title over Birmingham.

By Anonymous

if the HS2 isnt happening we need to get some ££ to expand our metrolink to accomodate twice the areas it does atm. That is the real key behind the development of the city


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