The draft Our Future City: Central Birmingham Framework 2040 has been hailed as the most important strategy written for the city this century ahead of its launch by the council at UKREiiF 2023.
Shaping the next 20 years of development this is a plan that will deliver unprecedented levels of new jobs, homes and green space.
Delivery of the framework’s vision would double the city’s green spaces to a level comparable with Vienna and double Birmingham’s network of active travel routes to 200km – the same level of healthy transport infrastructure as in Copenhagen, with the ultimate aim for the city to become a benchmark for meeting the challenges of the 21st century in its own right.
The framework, which has been developed with technical support given by Arcadis as lead consultants and Howells providing architectural support, outlines the potential to create 74,000 new jobs – an 80 per cent increase on the city centre's current employment capacity, as well up to 35,000 new homes for Birmingham’s young and growing population.
And, by creating vibrant new neighbourhoods, there would be a doubling in population density, bringing Birmingham into line with other major European cities, but not at the expense of green open space – with a pledge that the 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.
This plan also marks a major change from previous approaches to the city centre, with a clear intention to spread the benefits of development and investment into inner city areas, supporting access to infrastructure, jobs and improved public spaces.
As such, the new framework goes beyond the Inner Ring Road, in recognition of the reality that central Birmingham comprises several destinations, centres, quarters and neighbourhoods each with their own offer, character and opportunities that can deliver growth for all across our communities. The framework is geographically grouped into five key zones:
- 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.
In addition, the framework is seen as critical as meeting some of the city’s major challenges including unemployment which is double the national average, the ten-year gap in life expectancy between the poorest and most affluent areas in the city and the fact that over 40 per cent of Birmingham’s children grow up in relative poverty.