Manchester , Peoples Postcode Lottery, c Midjourney

People's Postcode Lottery had AI come up with what Oxford Road (left) and Piccadilly Gardens (right) may look like in 2123. Credit: Midjourney

This is what Manchester will look like in 2123 – according to AI

People’s Postcode Lottery recruited artificial intelligence experts to use Midjourney to envision Manchester’s future. Architects and urban designers have not been impressed.

“The vision here is pretty underwhelming,” said Danny Crump, director of urbanism at Broadway Malyan.

The next hundred years should see Manchester with more biodiversity, more sustainable urban drainage systems, and trees, he said. He also expected to see a more inclusive environment with a pedestrian-first mentality.

“I believe a future Manchester will be best conceived by communities, and not by 1s and 0s,” Crump concluded.

Laura Sherliker, director at The Fairhursts Design Group, was of a similar mind.

“The images shown of Manchester 100 years from now still don’t seem to be innovative enough and fail to take into consideration the needs of the people and businesses based here,” she said.

“As exciting as it is to be offered a look at the future, if it is to carry any weight it needs to illustrate an understanding of the real-life challenges we face as a city and provide tangible design solutions to address them,” she continued.

“In my opinion, this can only be achieved through the intelligence-based vision and creativity of a human designer.”

Manchester City Centre , Peoples postcode lottery, c Midjourney

People’s Postcode Lottery had Midjourney imagine Manchester’s city centre in 2123. Credit: Midjourney

Stephen Hodder of Hodder + Partners acknowledged that predicting what 2123 may look like is a difficult task.

“Predicting the townscape of the future is challenging because, although constantly changing, the development of our cities is a much more evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, process,” he said. “Witness Los Angeles as we know it compared with the dystopian vision in Bladerunner in 2019.

“Although new technologies may give rise to new building forms, I believe the imperatives of climate change and heritage protection, together for concerns for people and places, will see much more subtle interventions than these visions for Manchester in 100 years,” he continued.

“The vision for relatively car-free streets is more of a reality.”

Ernst ter Horst, an associate at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, was more generous in his feedback.

“Biodome in Piccadilly Gardens could be fun,” he mused. “By a wealth donor, perhaps – or indeed, several wealthy donors who have appeared to have created a neo-classical, amorphic glass futuristic mash-up!”

While the architects that Place North West contacted were dismissive of the vision, the People’s Postcode Lottery recruited Chris Lawson, owner of CK Architectural to share his insights. He was much more kind.

He commented: “The construction in Manchester city centre gives a great modern feature to any street/square. With a good vertical emphasis, it can add retail space, a great outlook for the future, and not rely on larger floor areas.

“Introducing a section of greenery could give a level of decarbonisation and biodiversity too. This is something that I am a firm believer will have to lead future architecture in cityscapes just like this one, so I do understand the AI inspiration here.”

Regarding the Oxford Road image, Lawson noted that the glass and mirrored buildings had a futuristic feel.

“The curved mirrors would help bring sunlight and energy to typically shaded places in cities, allowing energy capture and more growth to become intertwined into city life,” he said. “This is of course not to forget reflecting and enhancing the exciting historic buildings that make the fabric of this city. Creating a solid harmony of modern and traditional architecture will be the future of most major UK cities.”

What do you make of the AI creations? Let us know in the comments. If the future is what intrigues you, don’t miss our Innovation in Property event on Thursday at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall. Book your ticket now.

Your Comments

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So (by accounts of the last image) in 100 years time people will simply have umbrellas for heads… makes sense.

By Anonymous

    It’s the next step in our evolution, Anonymous.

    By Julia Hatmaker

2123 – Manchester Council launch competition for an(other) attempt at getting Piccadilly Gardens right.

By the light of the moon

Is that Manchester? The top left hand picture looks like St Pancras.

By Elephant

    I think that’s supposed to be the Kimpton Clocktower on Oxford Road.

    By Julia Hatmaker

Well atm it looks awful

By Anonymous

Have you got one for Liverpool hopefully Liverpool Waters will be half finished by 2121…

By John82

Looking forward to the Neo-Gothic architectural revival these images seem to predict

By Anonymous

Should the caption under the top picture not say 2123?

By mcleod

    Fixed, thanks for spotting that

    By Julia Hatmaker

No hoverboards??

By M McFly

Brilliant. I for one look forward to submitting to rule by our umbrella-headed overlords with their crazy architecture!

By Stuart Wilks

At least they got the rainy bit right.

By Anonymous

So it will take a 100 years for the council to fix Piccadilly gardens.

By Anonymous

Why would old buildings be changed in the future? This is pretty lazy content.

By TerribleAI

Umbrella Overlords! ….Call the Dr !

By Rhianna

Stupid, no one will build the new clock tower. No list building will be allowed to transform to that outfits

By Anonymous

Haha, surely it knows Manchester architecture is getting worse. not better

By Gilly

As an exercise in AI these things are interesting. As an a way of predicting reality not so much. Be fascinating to see though.

By Anonymous

This can’t be right! The world isn’t on fire and flooded at the same time!

By Anonymous

Why does Piccadilly Gardens look like Brussels in that photograph?

By Elephant

100 years in the future and footway parking appears to still be normalised.

By Active Travel Trev

No ‘To Let’ boards anywhere?! Can only assume offices have ceased to exist as those that haven’t had their jobs replaced by AI are remote working. Every office agent unemployed. Sam’s Chop House shuttered. Depressing stuff.

By Agent

Oh Agent relax.. it’s not real..remember..fantasy..reality…don’t get confused!

By Anonymous

Breaking news……. a Mexican fella just found a fossilized umbrellayed

By Mr N Imby

Who really cares what AI says Manchester will look like. All it does is steal images of other cities and unrelated drawings made by people without permission and fuse them together.


Cleaning the streets would already be a massive improvement

By Bob

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