The city of Manchester has grown "from the centre outwards by continuous additions on the fringe of the existing built-up area, and as new districts which adjoined the city were developed, they were incorporated by an extension of boundaries". In consequence, the city falls into four broadly concentric belts that coincide broadly with the concentric belts. The business centre is an area of one square mile in which much of the property is old and will have to be rebuilt and streets widened. The Slum Belt is a circular zone about half to two miles wide around the business centre with buildings erected before 1890 -- a mixture of houses, factories, and warehouses. The Suburban Belt falls into two concentric belts, the inner one containing by-law houses built between 1890 and 1914, that are "dreary, and depressing" but not "unhealthy or unsanitary"; the outer one containing inter-war housing estates, including the best residential districts to the south of the city and including Wythenshawe south of the Mersey.
The reconstruction of the Slum Belt is the greatest problem of every British city. The scheme put forward by the City Council in Manchester aims at converting the slum belt into "a really fine, healthy, and attractive residential area" by a comprehensive replanning scheme that makes provision for new roads, parks, schools, playing fields and the best lay-out of blocks of flats at a density of forty to the acre, with the relegation of industry to the zones in which it is segregated near the railways and canals. The demand for the extension of the city's administrative boundaries is obvious. Manchester, Salford, Stretford and north Cheshire ought at least to form one administrative unit. At present the people living in the best residential districts in north Cheshire ( Bowdon, Knutsford, Alderley, Wilmslow) for the most part work in Manchester and enjoy its amenities, but escape all financial obligations for its upkeep. Moreover, the boundary between Manchester and Salford runs through the built-up area along the river Irwell and is almost contiguous with the city centre of Manchester, so that all plans for the reconstruction of Manchester -- its core, its slums, its outer fringe, its ring and radial roads and the rest -- must be dependent on some sort of adjustment to the needs and plans of the Salford town council. This state of affairs is repeated in practically every British city.