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In the late 20th century cities like Manchester, seen as the ‘original, modern’ world industrial city, faced serious challenges in terms of how to respond to the massive economic restructuring that was taking place. On the one hand Manchester needed to respond to the highest rates of unemployment and social exclusion seen for more than 50 years, while, at the same time, the city wanted to develop innovative and practical solutions which could bring real economic and social benefits to local people. The impact of even more rapid technological change, referred to as the emerging ‘information society’, which started to impact from the 1980s onwards, exacerbated this dilemma, accelerating the process of restructuring so that within urban areas new economic growth increasingly sat side by side with extremes of poverty, unemployment and other forms of social exclusion. This presentation looks at the ways that Manchester responded to this and how those responses over the past 25+ years created new ambitions and aspirations for the city and its citizens. The conclusions focus on the concept of the ‘Smart City’ and Manchester’s ideas on creating a more inclusive, creative and sustainable city, including through the imaginative use of digital technologies, applications and services and a commitment to open innovation and the co-production of new and innovative services.