SN: this is so cool. I love seeing visions from the past that never came to be. It’s a testament to the human capacity for dreams.

Manchester’s lost horizons: the futuristic city that never was

Back in the 1960s, these gleaming environments were not the stuff of fantasy, but everyday urban planning. Over the next 10 days, Manchester will be exploring its past in the annual Histories festival, but the exhibition I am watching take shape might be the most fascinating thing of all. Making Post-war Manchester: Visions of an Unmade City brings to life long-forgotten plans for the city’s reinvention: a riot of moving pavements, monorails and rooftop heliports.

Richard Brook is principal lecturer at the Manchester School of Architecture; Martin Dodge does his work in the geography department at Manchester University. Sitting down to talk through their show, conversation is full of forensic expertise – and wide-eyed enthusiasm. “I admire the chutzpah,” says Dodge. “Today, urban development lacks ambition. But you look at some of the stuff from the 1960s, and you think: ‘Even if it didn’t work, these people were really going to do something, weren’t they?’ There was massive ambition there.”