DOWNLOADS: GM2040 – drivers of change – summary table

GM2040+ WP2 – DRIVERS OF CHANGE [work-in-progress]


GM2040+ aims to track the key ‘drivers of change’ which are likely to shape the future of Greater Manchester. Each one contains not only known trends but huge uncertainties, which can be explored in the External Scenarios. The responses to these drivers, and the opportunities or threats they bring, are then the focus of the Success Scenario, to be created.

If you would like to comment on any of these drivers, or on others which are not in the 21, please go to the GM2040 survey page.



A ‘driver of change’ in this project, is a set of forces or pressures or events, which are likely to generate major change in GM, in the period 2020-2040.

In practice things are complex: there are many inter-connections between global change and local effects (e.g. climate change): or national policies with local opportunities (e.g. GM devolution): or a technology transition with disruption all around (e.g. social media). Most of our 21 drivers contain a mix: driving forces which are more external, further effects and implications, and then ‘possible responses’ which are more local (not easy to summarize in 20 words, so bear with us).

Also there are huge uncertainties: for instance, how will GM devolution work? What if the UK leaves the EU? What if climate change really kicks in? Such uncertainties can’t be predicted, but we can look for ways to work alongside them. This involves being prepared, resilient, adaptable, collaborative, inclusive, intelligent, innovative, strategic, and other ways of coping, managing, forward thinking and so on.   These are then the focus of the GM ‘success scenario’, to be produced by the end of the project.



The drivers are compiled mainly from the national Foresight project on ‘Future of Cities’, ( ) and filtered for relevance to GM (i.e. change which is visible in the city-region / opportunities to act in the city-region). The ‘STEEPV’ framework (“social, technical, economic, environmental, policy, values”) is widely used in foresight / futures studies.



This list of 21 is very condensed, and leaves out issues which some may feel are more important, for example:

  • children and youth:
  • sports & lifestyle:
  • culture & media:
  • relationships & networks:
  • security & civil liberties:
  • tourism & leisure:
  • rural issues & farming:
  • mental health / illness:
  • personal / spiritual development:
  • extreme beliefs & lifestyles:
  • and many others which are possible.

If you would like to highlight any these, or any other burning issues and priorities for GM2040+, please use the survey page.