Big City Plan - what's happening?

Stef Lewandowski has raised the critical question - Big City Plan public consultation - who’s in?. In his blog he raises the point that aside from the bit's i've been posting on here, 1 2 3 4 5, there doesn't seem to be much on the plan online.

It's a fair point. I found the draft document I took excerpts from on the Council's Democracy Site, the site for the minutes and reports of meetings and reports going to council meetings. It's a dry site and the document itself shouldn't be languishing there seeing as the Cabinet gave their approval to it on Monday; Support for Birmingham's 25-year city centre vision. Like Stef I apologise to the team, I imagine there is work in progress but it's critical everyone gets their opportunity to comment and that means using all forms of capturing people's thoughts.

GLOBAL investors are queuing to cast their eyes over Birmingham’s vision for the future outlined in the city centre masterplan.

The Big City Plan, which sets out ambitions for a larger, more family-friendly city which welcomes investment and big business, won cross-party support at the city council cabinet last night.

An 80-page draft brochure detailing the issues and options facing the city over 25 years has been launched for public consultation, giving citizens until late February to have their say.

As Stef say's, even the Big City Plan's website, much trumpeted with billboard hoardings around the city, is hardly engaging for such an important project.

The Big City Plan is looking to shape the city for the next 25 years and it's critical everyone has their say, especially with the public consultation launching on the 12th December for twelve weeks.

It's such an important plan that I was expecting a huge launch on tuesday 25th after the cabinet approval and to get people thinking. While many people will think it's not going to affect them as it will be all buildings and roads it will in fact be about shaping the city's ethos, how it sees itself, where we want to go, as Stef notes Pyschogeography.

This isn’t just a plan for where we put the roads and buildings.
Since early on it was clear to me that this plan isn’t just about the built environment, it’s about the experience of living in the city, the concept of the place, the culture, the people that live here and designing systems and structures that enable us to live better lives here.

It's also critical in this regard we engage everyone who shares a part in making the city what it is and that must mean taking it to the suburbs, engaging our BME communities. As is much trumpeted, Birmingham is likely to be the second ethnic majority city, after Leicester, around 2025 approximately so it's crucial that the BME community share their views. Birmingham could be lead a civic revolution following it's role as the cradle of the industrial revolution and workshop of the world.

I'll repost this comment from Stef which sums up the response we need. Let's make sure we get those views and make rather than watch the city develop.

How about we do something ourselves?
They’ve asked for consultation - I say we give them consultation! There are some very smart and opinionated people in this city, and I think that getting us together to pool our thinking would be amazing. And with something as easy to understand as “What do you want Birmingham in 25 years to be like?” and huge issues like sustainability, transport, fuel crisis, energy, food, population, technology, communications, education, where we live, what we want from our public spaces, culture, creativity and lots more to consider this feels like one for the bloggers to really get our teeth into.


Anonymous said…
Your comments about broadening participation are spot on. I believe there are two follow-on considerations. One, how to use the web in that capacity, and two, to draw attention to things that the Council have already drawn their own lines under. The plan will not have reached many people, and those people will want to come at it as something other than a rubber-stamp exercise.

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