Greater Manchester post 1974
In 1974, Manchester was split from the county of Lancashire, and the Metropolitan Borough of Manchester was created.
The diversification of the city's economy helped to cushion the blow of this decline. However, as with many inner-city areas, the growth of car ownership and commuting meant that many people moved from the inner-city and into surrounding suburbs. By 1971 the population of Manchester had declined to 543,868, and by 2001 422,302.
IRA bomb and its effects
The devastation left by the IRA bombing Manchester's Exchange Square undergoing extensive regeneration.During the 1980s, with the demise of many traditional industries under the radical economic restructuring often known as Thatcherism, the city and region experienced some decline. Revival started towards the end of the decade, catalysed, not only by a wider growing prosperity in the UK, but by a creative music industry. New institutions such as Factory Records and Fac 51 Hacienda earned the city the sobriquet Madchester.
At 11.20 am on Saturday 15 June 1996, the IRA detonated a large bomb in the city centre, the largest to be detonated on British soil. Fortunately warnings given in the previous hour had allowed the evacuation of the immediate area, so this bomb caused over 200 injuries but no deaths. The principal damage was to the physical infrastructure of nearby buildings. Since then the city centre has undergone extensive rejuvenation alongside the more general efforts to regenerate previously run-down areas of the wider city (such as Hulme and Salford). This reconstruction spurred a massive regeneration of the city centre, with complexes such as The Printworks and the Triangle creating new city focal points for both shopping and entertainment. The following regeneration took over a decade to complete. The completion of the renovated Manchester Arndale in September 2006 allowed the centre to hold the title of the UK's largest city centre shopping mall.
Around and after 2000
Beetham Tower, Manchester's tallest building, was completed in 2006In 2002, the city hosted the XVII Commonwealth Games very successfully, earning praise from many previously sceptical sources. Manchester has twice failed in its bid to host the Olympic Games, losing to Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000.
In the 1990s, Manchester earned a reputation for gang-related crime, particularly after a spate of shootings involving young men, and reports of teenagers carrying handguns as "fashion accessories". A more concerted effort to reduce such crime has focused on prohibiting the availability of firearms, working with the community, deterring young individuals from joining gangs and jailing ringleaders have all helped to reduce gun crime. Consequently, gun crime has been plummeted year on year since 2007. Crime figures from 2011 show there were 19.2 firearm crimes per 100,000 population in Greater Manchester - compared to 35.1 in the Metropolitan Police area and City of London, and 34.3 in the West Midlands.
The Canal Street area of the city is well known as the "Gay Village". Manchester's claim to status of "gay capital of the UK" was strengthened in 2003 when it played host city to the annual Europride festival.
During the 1980s, the Victoria University of Manchester had somewhat complacently exploited its reputation as one of the leading red brick universities. During the same period, many of those universities established post-war vigorously pursued policies of growth and innovation. The university consequently saw its standing decline and only in the 1990s did it embark on a catch-up programme. In October 2004 the Victoria University of Manchester and UMIST merged to form the University of Manchester, the largest University in the UK with ambitious plans to be one of the world's leading research intensive universities.
Since the regeneration after the 1996 IRA bomb, and aided by the XVII Commonwealth Games, Manchester's city centre has changed significantly. Large sections of the city dating from the 1960s have been either demolished and re-developed or modernised with the use of glass and steel; a good example of this transformation is the Manchester Arndale. Many old mills and textile warehouses have been converted into apartments, helping to give the city a much more modern, upmarket look and feel. Some areas, like Hulme, have undergone extensive regeneration programmes and many million-pound lofthouse apartments have since been developed to cater for its growing business community. The 168 metre tall, 47-storey Beetham Tower, completed in 2006, provides the highest residential accommodation in the United Kingdom - the lower 23 floors form the Hilton Hotel, while the upper 24 floors are apartments. The Beetham Tower was originally planned to stand 171 metres in height, but this had to be changed due to local wind conditions.
In January 2007, the independent Casino Advisory Panel awarded Manchester a licence to build the only supercasino in the UK to regenerate the Eastlands area of the city, but in March the House of Lords rejected the decision by three votes rendering previous House of Commons acceptance meaningless. This left the supercasino, and 14 other smaller concessions, in parliamentary limbo until a final decision was made. On 11 July 2007, a source close to the government declared the entire supercasino project "dead in the water". A member of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce professed himself "amazed and a bit shocked" and that "there has been an awful lot of time and money wasted". After a meeting with the Prime Minister, Manchester City Council issued a press release on 24 July 2007 stating that "contrary to some reports the door is not closed to a regional casino". The supercasino was officially declared dead in February 2008 with a compensation package described by the Manchester Evening News as "rehashed plans, spin and empty promises."
Parts of the city centre were affected by rioting by Rangers fans during the 2008 UEFA Cup Final riots.
As of 2011, Manchester and Salford are on a tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The proposal centres on the Bridgewater Canal, regarded as the first true canal which helped create the industrial revolution.
On Tuesday 9 August, the centres of Manchester and Salford were affected by the 2011 England riots.