The Big City Plan 4 - A few questions to muse on

The Big City Plan report I have been taking excerpts from poses some interesting questions on various themes. I repost them here to kickstart the blogging community's involvement and to discuss how we can help shape the process of regenerating the city for the next 20 years.

1. What kind of additional shops and services are needed in Birmingham in the future to set it apart from its competitors and develop its global reputation?

2. Where can shopping activity expand within the city centre and niche shopping areas for particular types of product be developed?

3. How can the city develop a larger specialist retail sector?

4. Is there a role for street-based markets and can market streets be developed as a tourist destination?

5. What improvements should be carried out to the City Centre’s shopping streets to create a more attractive environment and enhance the city’s global reputation?

Community, Population and Households
1. How much extra housing should be located in the city centre and where should it go?

2. How far and in what ways can we accommodate more housing within mixed use quarters and traditional industrial quarters like the Jewellery Quarter, Digbeth and the Gun Quarter whilst retaining small businesses and creative industries in those areas?

3. What needs to be done to encourage a wider range of people to live in the city centre? are the essentials for creating a family- friendly environment? type of homes and residential environment are needed?

4. What innovative design approaches to homes and the home environment could be developed to enable more people to live in the city centre and stay and grow their families?

5. What living densities and populations are required to support local shops and facilities in the wider centre?

6.How might we improve the existing city centre residential areas in Highgate, Ladywood and the Gun Quarter?

1.What provision should the Big City Plan be making for the expansion needs of education at all levels in the city centre?

2.What can the Big City Plan do to assist in raising skills and qualifications at all ages and thus improving the future growth prospects of the city?

Culture, sport and Leisure
1. What further cultural and arts facilities might be needed in the city centre to promote the national and global image of Birmingham?

2. How might the city centre economy and image be enhanced through outdoor leisure/tourism events and how might existing spaces be used or new spaces created to accommodate such events? How can the city go about creating the right conditions for formal, free and spontaneous outdoor events? How can more flexible outdoor and indoor space be provided: should it, for example, go onto a future development of the wholesale markets?

3. What steps can be taken to give the city centre a livelier street scene?

4. Where and how might the city seek to get new arts exhibition space and venues incorporated into major new developments (for example, like New Street Station)?

5. The city would like to use more of its streets and spaces for the exhibition of works of art. What steps can the city, and the Big City Plan, take to bring this about?

6. How can the Plan address the need to improve the commercial leisure offer to develop a larger and more diverse leisure economy?

The Built and Natural Environment
1.What steps should be taken to ensure that new development in the city centre, including urban design, buildings and spaces, is of the highest quality, and furthers Birmingham’s aims as a a global city?

2.What approach should be taken to enable Birmingham to protect and enhance its historic environment and maintain the best of its buildings of all periods?

3.How can new development particularly around New Street Station link in with the existing network of public spaces?

4.What investments and environmental measures can be taken to make the city centre’s street network including the A38 corridor more attractive to residents, visitors and workers? What should be done to improve the connections to the wider city centre?

5.How can the canal and river environment be developed to attract more people, become a focus for leisure and commercial activities and provide a safe movement network giving access to the wider city centre, whilst at the same time maintaining its historic character and appearance?

6.Is there scope for a major new water feature in the centre, such as on the site of the wholesale markets, to act as a new focus for the streets and buildings in the area? How might this concept be developed?

7.How can the quality of open space in the city centre be improved to make the centre more liveable and attractive and how can the amount be increased? Are there any innovative ways in which this can be achieved, such as providing rooftop spaces? How should we plan for more outdoor events? How should the city centre’s open spaces be maintained and managed?

8.What steps can be taken to enhance the natural environment and biodiversity of the city centre, including the River Rea?

9.How far, and in what way, can the streets be made greener (for example by encouraging more tree planting) to create a more attractive residential and business environment, provide shade and assist in improving air quality? Can and should this approach be extended to the traditional industrial quarters?

10. Where and under what circumstances should tall buildings be encouraged?

1. How should we manage the anticipated growth in people movement, both “natural” growth and growth from new development, bearing in mind the objective of promoting non-car modes and reducing carbon emissions? How can future demands for delivery and service vehicle access to the city centre best be managed? What technological and design innovations could help facilitate deliveries to all types of premises?

2. How can the A38 corridor within the city centre be reconfigured to reduce its negative impact, whilst still retaining an important traffic carrying function?

3. Should the traffic-carrying capacity of the Ring Road be increased by selective junction improvements (e.g. grade separation) where congestion proves to be a particular problem?

4. How much private car parking should be provided for new developments in the city centre? Should we require any or all new development to be ‘car free’ (i.e. no parking provided) unless otherwise justified for non-commuter purposes?

5. How, where and in what numbers should publicly available off street parking be provided? What should be the balance between long stay (commuter) and short stay (shopper) spaces? Should the controlled parking zone be extended?

6. What should the Big City Plan say about providing for taxis and for motorcycles and scooters?

7. How can rail play a stronger role in providing for commuter and other travel needs into the city centre, up to and beyond 2025, and what infrastructure projects will be needed to support this? Can and should the Big City Plan provide appropriate protection for a future High Speed Train route to the city centre and related disembarkation facilities?

8. What steps need to be taken to ensure that the New Street Gateway project radically improves access to the station from all points, especially Southside. How can we best integrate Snow Hill, Moor Street and Jewellery Quarter stations with their surroundings (and a relocated Bordesley station, which would need to be moved as a result of the proposed rail chords).

9. Where should the city centre metro routes go and how should they operate? What are the alternatives to Metro in different locations? Should an underground option be relooked at?

10. How should we go about developing a genuinely 21st century bus system, in terms of quality, reliability, safety, comfort, image and fuel efficiency/environmental performance? What is the future role of the bus in the city centre relative to other public transport options? What streets should buses use, where should they stop in the city centre and where should they interchange with other modes of transport?

11. How can we go about making the city centre the UK’s most walkable centre? What streets and spaces should be the top priority walking routes? Where does attention need to be targeted to improve walkability, such as barrier removal and crossing improvement? What other kinds of improvement might be carried out?

12. How can cycling to, from and within the city centre be encouraged and where should investment be targeted? How can the hostility of the highways environment to cyclists be removed?

13. How can Birmingham provide a digital infrastructure to enable new and existing businesses to have a competitive advantage, globally and locally? Can a ‘Virtual Birmingham’ improve people’s understanding and appreciation of the city centre, increase opportunities for the visitor economy and attract global business interests to trade with or invest in the city centre and enable the city to achieve its ‘Connected City’ aspirations both locally and internationally?
How should Birmingham ensure that the development of new households within the city centre have a digital infrastructure that supports family living across all generations and supports the flexible lifestyle requirements of 21st century living?


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