How to improve Manchester, NH

How to improve Manchester, NH

Manchester, New Hampshire is a great place to live. I was born on a different continent, so it’s a compliment to Manchester that not only did I chose to live here, but I bought a home here and put down some roots. With all places in the world, though, there is room for improvement. Even the best-run countries, counties, and cities have problems, and Manchester is no exception. Some of these problems are too large for local people to resolve: Healthcare is a State and Federal issue, for example, and it doesn’t matter that we pay more in taxes for healthcare per person than countries like the UK and Germany and don’t get universal healthcare as a result.

So, what can we do?

There is plenty we can do, so this page links to information that can help us to get there:

Change zoning rules.

The way land is used in the USA is highly regulated. Some could argue more-so, than in countries in Europe. In Europe, if you want to build some homes in place x, you can apply for permission. In much of the USA, if it’s zoned for commercial, you may not use that land that way, no matter the need or benefit.

We don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater, though, and European city planning policies stymy development. There are some quick fixes:

  • Abolish R-1 zones – zones that require single-family homes, rather than just “residential”.
  • Abolish rules that limit developers unreasonably, such as the need to install sprinklers throughout a building, even if only 10% of it is residential. This is a policy of current candidate for Mayor on September 19, 2023, Will Stewart.

This video explains it in much more detail:

Reform parking

Manchester NH, grade-level parking

Like most cities, Manchester has too much parking. If, on Black Friday, there are still half-empty parking lots, then the store has too much parking. And if there is one store that’s busy, but there is parking outside the store next door, there’s probably still too much parking. Density in cities makes them more efficient, so using under-used parking lots for more homes is a great idea.

The red on the image displayed shows grade-level parking in central Manchester. This doesn’t even include on-street parking or multistorey parking structures. Parking is important for cities, like ours, with poor-to-non-existent public transit, but we definitely do not need this much.

Good explanation: Can in-fill save cities? (Nebula); YouTube link to follow.

Parking maps: Reform parking minimums.


This page is a work-in-progress. Let me know what I’ve missed, especially other helpful resources out on the internet.

Useful resources

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