Vision of Birmingham city centre in 20 years time unveiled by the council

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Birmingham City Council has announced its bold masterplan to transform the city centre - with  a pledge that ‘concrete bound mistakes of the past will not be repeated’

It is being hailed as the most important strategy written for Birmingham this century.

The city council masterplan is set to shape the city centre for the next 20 years - with creating a greener environment, more homes and jobs key priorities.

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The council has also made a pledge not to repeat the concrete collar mistakes of the past and says it intends for the benefits of investment and development to spread out through the inner city to Balsall Heath, Nechells and more - with five key zones identified to gain from the plan.

With unemployment currently double the national average and a ten-year gap in life expectancy between the poorest and most affluent areas a new approach is seen as vital for improving lifestyles for Brummies.

It is also aimed at helping future generations with 40% of children in Birmingham currently growing up in relative poverty. The document called Our Future City: Central Birmingham Framework 2040  was unveiled at a key conference in Leeds called UKREiiF 2023.

The framework has been developed with technical support given by Arcadis as lead consultants and Howells providing architectural support. Here are the key points of the bold vision:

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  • Green spaces in Birmingham double - and become comparable with Vienna.
  • Active travel routes would double to to 200km - and become comprabe to Copehnhagen
  • 74,000 new job  an 80% increase on the city centre’s current employment capacity
  • 35,000 new homes for Birmingham’s young and growing population
  • Double the population in the city centre - to bring Birmingham into line with other major European cities, but not at the expense of green open space
  • A pledge that he concrete bound mistakes of the past will not be repeated as part of the council’s effort to tackle the climate emergency on the city’s route to net zero carbon emissions
  • An intention to spread the benefits of development and investment to inner city areas, supporting access to infrastructure, jobs and improved public spaces
Birmingham city centre in 20 years timeBirmingham city centre in 20 years time
Birmingham city centre in 20 years time | Birmingham City Council

Here are the five key zones which the council says will benefit from the vision:

  • City Heart: Bull Ring, Colmore Business District, Snowhill and Steelhouse, Southside, Town, Westside;
  • Central North: Eastside and Aston Triangle, Gun Quarter, Nechells, Newtown;
  • Central East: Bordesley, Digbeth, Small Heath;
  • Central South: Balsall Heath, Edgbaston, Highgate;
  • Central West: Hockley, Jewellery Quarter, Ladywood, Spring Hill.

What has the Leader of Birmingham City Council said about the vision in his own words?

Speaking ahead of the launch, Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: Our Future City: Central Birmingham Framework will create a city that works for the people and communities of Birmingham.

“Like all great cities, Birmingham forever reinvents itself and our transformation is never-ending.

“Even so, our emergence in recent years underlines why I’ve labelled this a Golden Decade of opportunity for the businesses, people, and communities of Birmingham.

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“There’s a real buzz about Birmingham at the moment, a growing city of enormous potential and - as we showed to great effect last summer when hosting the Commonwealth Games - we’re ready to fulfil that potential.

“Now this framework, the most important strategy for Birmingham this century, is set to supercharge our quest to be a leading international city.”

Birmingham skylineBirmingham skyline
Birmingham skyline | SakhanPhotography - stock.adobe.com

What have the supporting consultants said about the vision in their own words?

Simon Marks, Birmingham and Midlands City Executive for Arcadis, added: “Arcadis are privileged to have been the lead consultant in developing this exciting framework for Birmingham. The vision is bold and rightly ambitious – so much has been achieved in recent years, and the Commonwealth Games proved we can deliver.

“The scale and nature of the proposed transformation has not been seen in over a century. Moreover, inclusive growth is at its heart where the communities and citizens of Birmingham will directly benefit from the transformation.

“As we move forwards into delivery, we will be reinstating the reputation of Birmingham as a leading international city of the future.”

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